Ulster Unionist MLA and party health spokesperson Jo-Anne Dobson has said that proposed cuts of just under 10 per cent to the budget of the Northern Ireland Fire Service could potentially put lives at risk.
“It’s disappointing that the Health Minister does not view our Fire Service as an essential front-line emergency service,” she said.
“Budget cuts must not compromise public safety and while I know from speaking to Fire Service management that, while there is always scope for efficiencies and they have been working hard to deliver these in recent years, these should not be forced but rather agreed.
“The worrying lack of clarity around the future of the Fire Service budget is making it extremely difficult for management to plan for next year. I want to see continued support for their successful large animal rescue scheme which is saving rural lives.
“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. A 10 per cent budget cut will damage the service and put lives at risk.”