A proposed new fire services plan for county Kildare has been condemned by a fire association body.
The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA) has welcomed the decision of Kildare County Council at its Monday, February 24, meeting to postpone the plan.
IFESA said the decision by the Council came after IFESA highlighted a range of cuts in local fire and emergency services which would have resulted from the approval of the Operations Plan.
When the plan came before the Council, it was proposed by Cllr. Colm Purcell without comment.
But Cllr. Darren Scully said he had major issues with it and asked councillors to postpone a decision on it. That was agreed and councillors are now to meet the the Chief Fire Officer and Council officials in private.
Cllr. Scully has concerns that there are a number of services that the Fire Service does not want to continue operating in the future.
The Fires and Emergency Operations Plan (known as a Section 26 plan), a service review, says some activities should not now be carried out by the Fire Service.
It says, for example, animal rescue should be a matter for animal welfare authorities and they should not be involved searches for missing persons or mountain rescue operations, unless the Gardai specifically request its presence.
It wants to cut services to people either locked into or out of a premises, where there is no risk to life. But the Fire Service would turn up at an incident where a person is trapped in a lift.
IFESA spokesperson, John Kidd, said the postponement of the plan came after it highlighted a range of cuts in local fire and emergency services which would have resulted from the approval of the Operations Plan.
Mr. Kidd said councillors had not been aware before the 24 February meeting that the proposed draft plan is based on a national Department of Environment “Keeping Communities Safe” plan, and would involve a number of new cuts in services in Kildare, including cuts to firefighter crews and training and restrictions in how the fire services respond to animal rescue and flooding incidents. He said there has been no risk assessment of the proposed changes.
Mr. Kidd said that IFESA, in conjunction with Kildare fire fighters, produced a detailed document for councillors highlighting the shortcomings of the proposed plan and their concerns if it was rushed through the Council.
“We welcome the decision by councillors to postpone its adoption ,” he said in a statement.