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McGimpsey must address Fire Stations which are 'not fit for purpose'

7 February, 2008

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Daithí McKay has said that the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey must outline what he is going to do to address the poor state of many fire stations across the north.

Mr McKay said:

"Some of the north's fire stations, particularly those in rural areas, have been in a terrible state for years and there is a massive onus on the Health Minister to address this situation.

"In my own constituency of North Antrim there are three stations which have been in dire need of upgrading/replacing for many years now - namely Cushendall, Ballycastle and Ballymena. Cushendall Fire Station was built as a temporary station nearly 20 years ago, and that is how long people there have been awaiting a proper station.

"Fire-fighters today offer an excellent service to the community but they should not be forced to do so with below average facilities. Leaking roofs and kitchens the size of cupboards which are to accommodate 13 staff are just some of the problems which exist. Some stations are no more than a garage for a fire appliance and are not equipped to accommodate even basic training courses for staff as they should be.

"At a time when the Fire Service is trying to recruit more women into the service it is simply disgraceful that many stations do not have separate wash-rooms and showers for male and female staff.

"The buck must stop with the Minister in regard to this matter and he must outline what he is going to do to address this urgent issue as he has failed to do so to date." ENDS

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