‘Lives at risk’ due to proposed cuts

Firefighters, including Area Commander John Allen, meeting with Jo-Anne Dobson MLA at Portadown Fire Station.
Firefighters, including Area Commander John Allen, meeting with Jo-Anne Dobson MLA at Portadown Fire Station.

Proposed cuts of just under 10% to the budget of the Northern Ireland Fire Service could potentially put lives at risk, Ulster Unionist MLA and party Health spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson has said.

After meeting with Firefighters and managers at Portadown Fire Station recently Mrs Dobson, who is her party’s Westminster candidate for Upper Bann, said:

“I have nothing but admiration for the men and women of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service.

“They put their lives on the line to save others; there can be few nobler causes and cuts to their budget are worrying for management and front-line staff.

“It’s disappointing that the Health Minister does not view our Fire Service as an essential front-line emergency service.

“That’s why I welcomed the opportunity to go along to Portadown Fire Station and to chat to the people on the front line.

“Budget cuts must not compromise public safety; the Minister’s proposed cuts will impact on response times and will undoubtedly put lives at risk.

“You cannot stretch fantastic people who are committed to their job and community beyond breaking point and I am urging the Minster of Health to think again about his proposed budget cuts. Before any decisions are finalised, he needs to meet with the front-line fire fighters and listen to their opinion. They save lives – a 10% budget cut will put lives at risk!”