Labour eyes independent probe into Bray fire

AN INDEPENDENT investigation into the recent death of two part-time firefighters will be called for by the Labour Party today in a Dáil debate on the state of the country’s fire services.

The private members’ motion urging the government to establish a national fire authority and introduce full-time fire services in areas of high population follows the death of Mark O’Shaughnessy and Brian Murray in Bray, Co Wicklow.

Labour spokesman on local government Ciarán Lynch is expected to strongly criticise the Government’s failure to implement recommendations made in a key 2002 report on the fire service.

“People all over the country rightly acknowledge the courage of members of the full-time and retained fire services all over the country, on whom we all depend for our safety,” he said.

“However, a number of serious issues have been raised by the Bray fire deaths. Colleagues of the two men have called for an independent investigation into their deaths and we believe that the Government should respond to this.”

During the Dáil debate tonight and tomorrow, the Government will be asked to explain why some of the recommendations of the Farrell, Grant Sparks review of fire safety and fire services in Ireland, submitted to the Government in January 2002, have still to be implemented.

“One of the key recommendations made in that report was the establishment of a national authority for fire and civil protection/ emergency services, but unfortunately the Government has refused to act on it,” said Mr Lynch.

He said it was time to recognise that “retained fire services are no longer adequate to provide the level of protection required in areas of high population. Our motion will seek a commitment to... full-time fire services for areas of high population such as Bray”.

There are currently three separate investigations continuing into the fire on September 26.

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