Bradshaw concerned at Fire Service budgetary pressures

Alliance MLA Paula Bradshaw has expressed her concern after reports budgetary pressures would lead to imminent cuts in fire and rescue cover across large parts of Northern Ireland.

Media reports said small towns would likely be hit hardest, with fire cover moving from full-time to part-time in towns including Carrickfergus, Newtownards and Enniskillen. The Fire and Rescue Service said cuts would be a ‘temporary interim measure’.

“I have written to the Permanent Secretary to say that although I am aware of the immense pressures under which he is operating in the absence of a Minister, the real-terms reduction in spending on the Fire and Rescue Service will have an unforeseen and troubling impact in a range of locations,” said Ms Bradshaw.

“The rise in the budget allocated to the Fire Service is nothing like enough, falling clearly short of what is necessary in real terms. If there are options for reform of the Service we are happy to look at them, but effectively reducing the funding available while expecting the same level of coverage is clearly not an option.

“It should be emphasised again this is yet another consequence of the DUP and Sinn Féin failing to live up to the responsibilities that come with their mandates.”