In­crease in fire bri­gade fund sparks a now an­nual de­bate

Fingal Independent - - NEWS -

FIN­GAL’S bud­geted con­tri­bu­tion to the Dublin Fire Bri­gade will rise by half a mil­lion euro in 2018, spark­ing a now an­nual de­bate on the ris­ing costs of the ser­vice to the county.

The bud­get for the year ahead in terms of Fin­gal County Coun­cil’s con­tri­bu­tion to the ser­vice is close to €20 mil­lion and the in­crease is largely down to the restora­tion of cer­tain pub­lic ser­vice al­lowances.

The coun­cil’s fi­nance di­rec­tor ex­plained the rise was to be much larger but af­ter ‘de­tailed dis­cus­sions’ be­tween the Dublin lo­cal au­thor­i­ties who co-fund the ser­vice and cen­tral Gov­ern­ment, the Gov­ern­ment agreed to con­trib­ute more of ex­che­quer fund­ing to the ser­vice.

Cllr Kieran Den­ni­son (FG) said there was an ‘an­nual head scratch­ing ex­er­cise’ among coun­cil­lors over the ‘ever-in­creas­ing’ costs of the fire ser­vice.

Cllr David O’con­nor (NP) agreed and said this was the ‘mys­tery of the Dublin Fire Bri­gade bud­get and why it keeps in­creas­ing ever year’.

Cllr Matthew Waine (Sol) ac­cused coun­cil­lors ques­tion­ing the fund­ing of ‘penny pinch­ing’ and said the fire ser­vice were ‘front-line pub­lic ser­vants who suf­fered enough dur­ing the years of aus­ter­ity’.

Cllr Dun­can Smith (Lab) also de­fended the fund­ing of the ser­vice say­ing he was proud to sup­port the bud­get for the ser­vice.

Cllr Jimmy Guerin (NP) and Cllr Anne De­vitt (NP) said that chal­leng­ing the cost of the ser­vice did not mean coun­cil­lors did not sup­port it but Cllr Malachy Quinn (SF) said if the ques­tion is if the ser­vice is value for money, then he be­lieves it is.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of Fin­gal County Coun­cil, Paul Reid ac­knowl­edged that the ser­vice was an ‘on­go­ing rise in cost’ but he said the first es­ti­mates of the what the ser­vice would cost the coun­cil for the year ahead were a ‘sig­nif­i­cant in­crease on what you see to­day’.

He ar­gued that while the amount rep­re­sented an in­crease on the fig­ure bud­geted in 2017, it was less than the fi­nal fig­ure ac­tu­ally spent on the ser­vice this year. with that said, the chief ex­ec­u­tive said the coun­cil con­tin­ued to press for ‘re­forms’ in the ser­vice.

Cllr David O’con­nor.

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