Friday 28 April 2017

Council proposes to charge fee for fire services

Fiona Ellis and  Allison Bray

HOUSEHOLDERS could be hit with hundreds of euros in charges for fire brigade call-outs next year.

Dublin City Council is proposing to introduce domestic fire service charges in 2012.

The council will meet tonight where it will propose to introduce charges from January.

Proposed figures on the table include a first-hour fee of €500 for call-outs to domestic fires, €610 for vehicle fires and €610 to attend a chimney fire. It also includes a first-hour fee of €610 for road traffic accidents.

The first-hour rate will be fixed and following hours are charged per tender attending. It is also understood there will be no waiver scheme.

Dublin Fire Brigade SIPTU convenor Gerry Harris said the proposed cuts could cost lives.

"A person who cannot afford to pay a charge might attempt to put out the fire themselves and that could put their lives at risk."

Mr Harris said there were other ways to fund the fire service that didn't affect safety.

"A change of legislation is needed to allow the 1.5pc fire levy, as part of all householders' insurance, to be given directly to the fire service," he said.

However, some local authorities have been charging call-out fees for several years, in which the householder or person involved in an accident is billed.

Some councils, however, have waivers in place for people on low incomes.

Irish Independent

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