| 8°C Dublin

Tragic firefighters' families warn lack of funding will cost lives

THE families of two dead firefighters fear that further lives will be lost unless more resources are devoted to the service.

Relatives of Mark O'Shaughnessy (26) and Brian Murray (46), who died in a blaze in Bray, Co Wicklow, in September 2007, were among a large group that demonstrated in Bray yesterday about what they claim is a lack of money for the local fire brigade.

The pair were killed by a collapsing roof as they fought a blaze in an abandoned factory.

SIPTU has claimed there has been a number of incidents where the public has been put in danger due to lack of resources.

"Two much-loved men died because of being dispatched to a fire far too late. They were tackling an inferno instead of a controllable blaze," said Darren Murphy, a spokesman for the two families.

Representatives of SIPTU are to meet with management from Wicklow County Council to discuss the matter.

The local authority claimed yesterday the fire- service budget had been continuously increased over the last few years and there had been no complaints from firefighters.

Another representative group, the Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association (IFESA), joined with SIPTU in calling for an independent inquiry into the deaths.

However, a spokesman for Environment Minister Phil Hogan said: "The minister does not intend to establish a further investigation into this tragic accident."

Irish Independent