The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) said today (Monday 7 th Jan) there is mounting concern among retained fire fighters in the Waterford area about the impact on their jobs of the new Waterford City Fire station.

IFESA National Chairman, John Kidd will attend a meeting of Waterford fire fighters this coming Thursday night (Jan.10 th ) in the Park Hotel, Dungarvan to address this and other issues facing the fire service in the city and region.

Mr. Kidd said IFESA will be seeking an urgent meeting with Waterford County Council to get assurances that the development of the new € 2m station will not impact on the jobs of retained firefighters who have given years of dedicated service to the Waterford community.

He said this issue, together with the concerns about the impact on fire services from the planned merger of Waterford City and County Council, confirmed the need for a strong united stand by firefighters in the South East to protect their jobs and incomes.

He said ‘Firefighters in the South East as elsewhere in the country, have already seen their incomes drop substantially as the result of the austerity cutbacks of recent years and they now face further uncertainty over their jobs as a result of the new Waterford fire station and local authority merger proposals.'

Mr. Kidd will also be outlining IFESA opposition to the ‘Keeping Communities Safe (KCS)' plan drawn up by the Department's National Directorate for Fire Emergency Management . IFESA has warned that the KCS proposals will see fire fighter numbers reduced and fire stations closed, this in turn will compromise the safety of the public and communities throughout the country.'

Mr. Kidd also reiterated IFESA's concern that the policy of ‘Call Vetting' - where senior fire officers decide if the fire service will be deployed in response to emergency calls – is being used by local authorities as a cost saving measure. He said IFESA is continuing to monitor the impact on services to the public of ‘Call Vetting' which firefighters regard as posing serious risks to members of the pubic and communities.

Finally, IFESA extended its condolences to the families of all those who lost loved ones in the fire tragedies in Waterford and elsewhere in the country in recent days . Media Contact: IFESA National Chairman, John Kidd 087-6588999/ Derek Cunningham 0862430535