New Fire Board must make tackling discrimination a priority
Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights spokesperson, South Down MLA Caitriona Ruane has said that challenging discrimination, particularly within some of the senior management levels of the Fire Service should be a priority for the New Fire and Rescue Service Board after it was announced that current Chair of the Fire Authority Bill Gillespie will be the Chair of the new Board.
Ms Ruane said:
"There are some very serious issues in relation to discrimination that the new Fire and Rescue Service Board need to get to grips with. The Fire Authority was forced to back down over the 'stand-by' maps on the grounds that they discriminated against people from a number of different command areas.
"However, in fighting this case it is also clear that there are serious difficulties at senior management level within the Fire Service in coming to terms with the Equality agenda and issues relating to discrimination and sectarianism.
"Challenging discrimination, particularly within some of the senior management levels of the Fire Service should be a priority of the New Fire and Rescue Service Board. It is a matter of concern that British direct rule ministers have simply decided to roll over the appointment of the current Chair of the Fire Authority Bill Gillespie as the Chair of the new Board. The appointment of someone unhindered by association with outdated and outlawed practices would have sent out a far stronger signal that discrimination would be confronted." ENDS