UKIP NI Chairman, Councillor Noel Jordan calls for major recruitment drive in fire service
Mid and East Antrim UKIP Councillor Noel Jordan is calling on the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service to invest in recruitment within the Service as morale amongst existing fire-fighters in Carrickfergus is at an all time low.
Councillor Jordan states:
“Under previous and recent cuts to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service budget, recruitment seems to be an increasingly difficult hurdle to overcome, leaving Carrickfergus at certain times of the day struggling to provide adequate fire cover. Changes to the contracts for Retained fire-fighters and the hours they are required to provide leaves a gaping hole in the number of fire-fighters needed to provide fire cover for our community.”
“Carrickfergus Fire Station is covered on a daily basis from 7:30am until 7:30pm using full time firefighters. What about the hours between 7.30 pm and 7.30 am, the following morning? These hours are covered using the back up and support of Retained fire-fighters, working on a call-out system. This section of fire-fighters, although still expected to provide 24 hour cover, has seen its staffing levels drop from 20 available fire-fighters to 15 and, out of these 15 retained fire-fighters, 4 are off work on long term sick leave. This is a dangerous precedent to set, not just in Carrickfergus, but also in Mid and East Antrim and in every other fire station in the country.”
Councillor Jordan added:
“Recruitment is required to adequately and safely cover the local station’s responsibilities and commitment to our community during both day and night time. Firefighting is a stressful job, which puts additional pressure on an already stressed work-force. This job environment affects morale, and could well lead to an increase in sickness levels. This, in turn, will again affect the number of fire-fighters available for duty.
“This serious situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. I will be seeking, through Freedom of Information request and through questions put down by our Party Leader, David McNarry MLA in the Assembly, to find out the full extent of these and any other issues”.
Notes for Editors:
David McNarry MLA Questions for Written Answer 4 Jan 2016 DHSSPS
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety what recruitment is planned during this coming year for full & part-time firefighters to fill the huge understaffing across NI?
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he is aware that inadequate recruitment has caused serious manpower shortages which put the safety of people and property at risk?
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he will meet representatives of both the Fire Authority and the Fire Brigade Union to bring about additional recruitment across NI?
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety if he is confident that the NI Fire Service is fully equipped to cope with terrorist bomb incidents either ISIS or dissident IRA organised in our cities and towns?
To ask the Minister of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to what extent are the financial restraints imposed on the Fire Service directly affecting its ability to ensure public safety all round?