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Press Release

21 May, 2008

PN: HSSPS 09/08


Attacks on fire crews put people’s lives at risk, says the Assembly Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. The Committee was speaking before a visit to the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) on Thursday 22 May 2008.

Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Michelle O’Neill MLA, said:

“The NI Fire and Rescue Service provides a vital service that protects people and saves lives every day. The challenges fire and rescue teams face in the course of their working day are extraordinary. Each member of the public has a role to play in ensuring that the emergency services have clear and safe access at times of crisis.

It is a disgrace that fire crews are frequently attacked by individuals or gangs while attending an emergency. Shamefully, not only have fire crews been injured but it has also resulted in a slower response when helping those in need. It is only a matter of time before a tragedy results from such criminal actions.

Speaking about the visit to the NIFRS, Mrs O’Neill continued:

“A key element of the Health Committee’s work is listening to, and learning from, our frontline workers. Committee members will be meeting Fire and Rescue Service staff and discussing ways of enhancing their service and safety.

“The Committee is also holding its weekly public meeting in Lisburn today as it is keen to have many of its meetings outside Parliament Buildings. It is imperative that the public have opportunities to learn about the role of the Committee and to see it in action. At the meeting the Committee will hear evidence from the Health Promotion Agency about the proposed reform of the health service and the plans to set up a new Public Health Agency.”


Notes to Editor:

The Committee plans to invite representatives of the Fire and Ambulance services to Parliament Buildings in the near future to promote greater understanding of the vital task that both these services perform on behalf of the whole community.

At 2.30 pm Thursday 22 May the Committee will hold its regular weekly Committee meeting at the Fire and Rescue Service Headquarters, 1 Seymour Street, Lisburn. The Committee will be briefed by the Health Promotion Agency and by Officials from the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. The meeting will be open to the public and the media.

Committee Membership:

Mrs Iris Robinson MP (DUP) (Chairperson); Ms Michelle O’Neill (SF) (Deputy Chairperson); Mr Thomas Buchanan (DUP); Rev Dr Robert Coulter (UUP); Dr Kieran Deeny (IHC); Mr Alex Easton (DUP); Mr Tommy Gallagher (SDLP); Mrs Carmel Hanna (SDLP); Mr John McCallister (UUP); Ms Claire McGill (SF); Ms Sue Ramsey (SF)

The Clerk to the Committee is Mr Hugh Farren, Room 412, Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 028 90521360 Fax No: 028 90521667
Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 02890-521137/521396. Fax: 02890 521961.
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Media Enquiries to:

Stephanie Mallon, Northern Ireland Assembly Information Office, Room B2, Parliament Buildings, Belfast BT4 3XX.
Tel No: 028 9052 1953. Fax: 02890 521961.

Press office: 028 9052 1137

Website Address –