The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) today (Friday 16 th June) extended its deep sympathy to all of the victims – deceased and injured - their families and community in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

IFESA further paid tribute to the professionalism, dedication and bravery of their fellow firefighters in the London Fire Service in responding to the unprecedented scale of the Grenfell fire.

IFESA said there are clearly very many questions to be answered in the relation to the circumstances of the disaster, but the issue of the risks posed by ‘cladding' is one that has concerned fire fighters and has been raised at EU level by the European Fire Fighters Union Alliance (EFFUA with a membership of 240,000) of which IFESA is a member.

Ros MacCobb , IFESA Vice President , said while it would be wrong to draw any wider conclusions from the London disaster there is absolutely no room for complacency regarding fire safety standards and compliance  with these in the Irish context.

‘We have seen a number of examples where ‘Celtic Tiger' shoddy building standards and enforcement have compromised the integrity and fire safety standards of residential apartment blocks and houses.  While a number of these have been identified and retrofitted to proper standards (at considerable cost and hardship to owners and tenants) we should be under no illusion that the problems in these cases were isolated.'

‘It remains the case that firefighters are now regularly witnessing fire safety standards particularly in apartments and overcrowded rental accommodation that are at best adequate, and at worst are non-existent.  This consequence of the housing and accommodation crisis which firefighters witness on a daily basis demands greater attention and enforcement by local authorities and increased funding from central government.

Mr MacCobb appealed to property owners and tenants to exercise greater vigilance and personal responsibility in ensuring fire precautions and safety measures are in place.

‘Tenants in particular need to be more demanding of management companies and landlords to comply with fire safety standards  which unfortunately many are reluctant to do given the pressure of demand for rental accommodation, he said. 

Media Contacts:   Ros MacCobb 0872164533, Derek Cunningham 0862430535

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