City brings in €500 firefighter call-out fee
HARD-pressed householders in the capital will have to fork out €500 for fire brigade call-outs next year.
Dublin City Council passed a motion last night to introduce a raft of new charges, including fees for those whose homes go on fire.
Dubliners will now face a first-hour fee of €500 for domestic fires, €610 for vehicle fires and €610 for chimney fires. There will also be a first hour charge of €610 for traffic incidents.
The changes were introduced as it emerged that householders around the country are refusing to pay council charges for firefighters putting out fires in their homes.
Last night, Lord Mayor of Dublin Andrew Montague said the real finger of blame should be directed towards insurance companies and their lack of co-operation.
"I believe the insurance companies are not doing their bit. They are charging a levy on households for fire brigades, but are not passing those payments that they're charging back to the councils.
"In order to get that money back -- we're going to have to levy a tax on the people who use the fire brigade -- then these people can then claim it back from the insurance companies.
"But it would be much better if the insurance companies would deal directly with us and we wouldn't have to go through the householders in the middle," he added.
Householders in some counties are getting bills for more than €350 for fire brigade callout services which are free in other areas.
Car crash victims are also sent bills by the councils for fire brigade emergency services. In some cases, bills have been sent to relatives of a deceased victim.
Dublin firefighters have expressed their opposition to the new charges in Dublin.
SIPTU sector organiser Owen Reidy cautioned that such costs could deter householders from calling the fire service and endanger the lives of civilians and firefighters.
"Forcing householders to pay for any attendance by a fire brigade at their homes could clearly deter people from calling the fire service and could put the lives of civilians and firefighters at risk," he said.