The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) have said (Tuesday, Oct 15 th ) it is concerned about a number of recent anti-social incidents and attacks involving emergency fire service vehicles and personnel. In one incident a brick was thrown at the window of a fire tender in Tallaght and there have also been a number of incidents where laser lights have been directed at engine drivers and crews in an apparent attempt to cause accidents.

IFESA National Secretary, John Kidd said the weekend incidents were worrying as they come ahead of Halloween, which is the busiest and most dangerous time of year for fire crews and emergency personnel.

‘The Tallaght incident was a serious one and left a fire engine out of service while it was being repaired. The current level of ‘anti-social' behaviour directed at emergency personnel is a bad omen for the weeks ahead as we build up to Halloween when unfortunately it is more likely that members and fire and ambulance service will face injury and assault and have vehicles damaged'.

‘We are appealing to the public and parents in particular to ensure that children and young people understand the vitally important work that the fire and ambulance services provide and to ensure that they are not targeted or interfered with in any way while we do our jobs'.

‘The Government was quick to vote down a Fianna Fáil Bill to impose mandatory prison sentences on people convicted of assault on emergency workers while on duty, on the pretext that it would bring forward its own legislation. We are still waiting to see this legislation.'

‘There is need for specific legislation to protect emergency personnel from assault and send a clear message to those involved in such attacks that they will not be tolerated and the law will deal with them harshly. The threat to fire and ambulance personnel will continue until the Government brings forward legislation and we are calling for that legislation now', said Mr Kidd.

Media Contacts : John Kidd 087-6588999/ Derek Cunningham 086-2430535