Newry MLA meets fire chiefs

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Tuesday, September 10th, 2019

SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Justin McNulty has met with the Senior Management within the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service to discuss proposed cuts to services in Armagh City.

Speaking to Newry Times, McNulty said, “The Fire and Rescue Service recently announced plans to reduce cover from full-time to part-time in a number of towns, Armagh and Portadown as part of measures to manage budgetary cuts.

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“Whilst I appreciate efforts must be made to live within budgets, the impact of these cuts could cost lives and it is completely unacceptable,” he warned.



“Fire officers are lifesavers; they don’t just respond to fire incidents, they respond to a wide range of emergencies including road accidents and flooding incidents.

“We owe a great debt of gratitude to those who put their lives on the line to save others. I cannot understand the thinking behind this move and raised my concerns with the Chief Fire Officer and his team.”

He continued, “They sought to reassure us that these moves were temporary and would not impact the safety of fire crews or of the public.

“I’m concerned however that the trend here seems to be when the government here makes any temporary cut to a budget or service, very rarely is it ever restored again.



“To me, the logic doesn’t stack up and I know the concerns of some fire officers who have described this as a template for disaster and their fear is that relying too much on part-time staff could have devastating consequences, lengthening response times and ultimately potentially cost lives.

McNulty added, “The Fire Chiefs were urged to reassure us that proposed budget cuts would neither risk the safety of crews or of the public.”



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