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Fire brigade fears mount over s3m cut

DUBLIN Fire Brigade faces budget cuts of up to €3m -- leading to fears a reduced service could put lives at risk.

If the Dublin City Council savings are achieved, it will mean €6.5m fewer resources.

And politicians warned today that the size of the cutbacks could hit the service.

"I have a question going into the city manager this week to ask for additional funding to be allocated to the fire brigade," Independent councillor Christy Burke said today.

"A very large amount of money is being paid out on overtime because of the (public service recruitment) embargo. It would make more sense to lift the embargo," he said.

"You'd have to ask the question, will the service deteriorate?" Mr Burke added.

Assistant city manager Seamus Lyons said that, after "protracted negotiations", €3.5m in savings were achieved under the first phase of the Croke Park Agreement.

A fresh round of talks is under way aimed at restructuring the East Region Control Centreand saving €3m.

Both the management structure at the fire brigade and leave arrangements for all staff are to be reviewed.

The reorganisation of the control centre is expected to see firefighters being redeployed from telephone duty to the front line.

City chiefs want firefighters whose duties involve answering phones and mobilising tenders to be out on the road again.

The move would enable the council to fill gaps created by retirements.







Pension

The duties of a large number of the Dublin brigade's personnel entail manning the phones.

However, the council wants them back on the streets and intends to train dedicated officers to take their place in the control room.

A larger than usual number of staff members left the brigade this year ahead of the February 29 deadline in order to avail of better pension and tax-free lump-sum payments.

comurphy@herald.ie


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