A Safer Dublin: Dublin Sinn Féin discussion document on Dublin Fire Brigade
This year is the 25th anniversary of the Stardust disaster, where 48 young people lost their lives, and it is perhaps fitting in a document designed to contribute to the debate about the reform and improvement of the fire services, that we begin by reiterating Sinn Féin's continued support for the campaign of the families of those killed and injured. Dublin Fire Brigade responded to over 90,000 incidents in 2004, well over 200 a day on average.
This single statistic is by itself a testament to the skill, courage and determination of the men and women of the Fire Brigade.
In preparing this document Sinn Féin has consulted widely with frontline firefighting staff and their representatives, as well as representatives of the Chief Fire Officers association.
We have focussed, though not exclusively, on the issues of fire safety and service provision and emergency ambulance provision as being areas we feel that need to be prioritised.
It is not our intention to be alarmist, nor to indulge in tabloid scaremongering, but we believe that without substantial changes, and soon, a disaster where our over-stretched Fire Service is unable to respond adequately, resulting in substantial, and unnecessary loss of life, is not merely likely, it is inevitable.
The focus of media and government attention has traditionally been on the other two emergency services, the Gardaí and ambulance provision, though the Fire Service plays an under-appreciated role in the latter as well.
This document is an attempt to redress that balance, to focus attention on the need for reform and investment in the Fire Service, with a particular emphasis on Dublin but with implications for the Service throughout the rest of the state, and the rest of the nation.