IFESA , the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association, said today (Wednesday) that there is growing evidence throughout the country that more rigid interpretation of ‘Call Vetting' of emergency calls is denying more and more basic Fire & Rescue services to the public and local communities.

Ros Mac Cobb, National Vice Chairman of IFESA said the public were increasingly being denied access to emergency Fire & Rescue services provided by retained/part-time local fire brigades which were always regarded as a safety net for any community.

“We are seeing a greater reliance on ‘Call Vetting' as a means of implementing tighter financial control on the provision of a vital public service. There is growing evidence that management are using ‘Call Vetting' to limit expenditure which from the public point of view means that a broader spectrum of calls are now met with either a delayed response, or no response at all from the emergency Fire & Rescue services..”

“This insidious way of implementing more cutbacks in the Fire & Rescue service not only makes no sense from a cost effectiveness point of view but is also dangerous. The public are unaware that their calls for emergency assistance are being processed through a more rigorous ‘Call Vetting' system as a way of saving money. This practice of call vetting is being adopted in the majority of retained / part time Fire Brigades around the country .Those Counties lucky enough to have a Full Time Brigade have not experienced this practice yet ,but it only a matter of time.

“The use of ‘Call Vetting' in this way is yet another example of the cutbacks being implemented in the fire services throughout the country.”

“IFESA has already highlighted its concerns about recent consultation documents released by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government, National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management which raise the potential for cuts in the numbers of front line fire fighters in the Irish Fire Service and cuts in the calls for help that they would be allowed respond to.”

“The implications of the proposals set out in these documents are for cuts to front line Fire Fighters numbers by hundreds around the country and up to 200 in Dublin Fire Brigade alone.The possibility of station closures is a real possibility to many communities around the country .”

“These plans if implemented, together with the abuse of ‘Call Vetting' policy and the closure of stations, will compromise the safety of the citizens in Dublin and throughout the rest of the country.”

“At a time when the dangerous but vital work of fire fighters is being highlighted and commended in the TV Documentary series ‘ Firefighters ' the fire service is being undermined by cutbacks and bureaucracy at every level.

Ros Mac Cobb said “ IFESA members are fearful of further cuts and station closures as budgets are squeezed further. However as professionals who provide one of the most vital public services of all IFESA is determined to fight these cuts and protect the publics' right to a properly funded and resourced fire service in every community.”

Finally, IFESA recalls the tragic deaths of firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O Shaughnessy who died in Bray, Co. Wicklow five years ago on 26 th Sept. 2007.

To mark the anniversary Bray firefighters will hold a wreath laying ceremony at the site where the men died on Lower Dargle Road at 09.00 hours, followed by a Remembrance Mass at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church at 10.00 am.


Media Contacts : Ros MacCobb IFESA National Vice Chairman 087-2164533/ Derek Cunningham 086- 2430535