Sinn Féin MLA Sue Ramsey said the findings of the audit reports into the Fire & Rescue Service are startling and the public need reassured that the management of the service will put its house in order.
The West Belfast MLA and Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee said:
“We are hearing about senior officers authorising irregular bonus payments and whistleblowers being treated improperly to name just two points that are a great cause of concern.
“People need to have confidence that our public services are being run efficiently and in line with the highest standards expected of those in public positions, including governance.
“It is concerning that these problems seem to have been going on for some time and that the Department is only now beginning to tackle them.
“The minister is ultimately responsible for managing the performance of the Fire Service and we need assurances that they will take on a much more robust role going forward.
“The lessons should ensure that if similar situations arise in any other bodies in the health and social care sector they will be tackled immediately.
“We need to be very clear that most of those employed by the Fire Service are providing vital services, often under very difficult conditions, and it is important that the actions of those in the management do not negatively impact on their good work.
“I will be raising these audit reports in the Health Committee tomorrow as there are still questions that need answered.”