Political vacuum putting lives at risk, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has warned delays in reforming legislation relating to the Fire and Rescue Service caused by the current political vacuum may put lives at risk.

The South Belfast MLA said there was a gap in regulations meaning a multi-occupied building with only domestic premises, such as was the case in the recent Grenfell Tower tragedy, would not fall under anyone’s jurisdiction once the building is occupied.
She said one outcome of this could be no requirement for risk assessments at such locations.

“There is an obvious public safety concern as a result, as well as concern for firefighters who have to go in when everyone else is running out. This is an aspect of the legislation which needs to be revisited urgently, and in the wake of Grenfell there is a strong argument for legislation to require sprinklers in the common areas of all such premises, including those which are residential.

“In the absence of a functioning Assembly and Health Minister, amendments to the relevant regulations and a Bill to ensure safety in residential buildings will remain impossible and the gap will continue to present a major public safety concern.

“It is long past time the larger parties got on with their jobs for the sake of issues such as this. With the largest mandates come the largest responsibilities to the public.”

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