Monday 25 March 2019

Dispute sparked over fire service use of Eircode

Maria Pepper

Wexford's Chief Fire Officer Paul L'Estrange has written a letter to Council officials clarifying a claim by Cllr. George Lawlor that the county fire service is not using the Eircode system to obtain directions when travelling to incidents.

Cllr. Lawlor had said he was contacted by a woman who had to walk to the top of the road where she lived to give directions to a fire crew when her house was on fire.

In a letter to the Deputy Chief Execuive of Wexford County Council Tony Larkin which was copied to District Manager Angela Laffan, Ray Murphy and Colm McGrath, Mr. L'Estrange said: 'I wish to set the record straight and confirm that our control room in Dublin can receive said information.'

'Further, our crews can use it to pinpoint locations using tablets that were put on the run in late 2016. Finally, we would encourage more usage by members of the public if they are reporting an incident.'

'I would like to thank you in advance for informing those that need the clarification at the above mentioned meeting', he added.

At last week's meeting of the local authority Cllr. Lawlor described the response of the Chief Fire Officer as 'a little bit churlish' and insisted: 'They don't use Eircode'.

'I think the person who needs clarification is the woman whose house was on fire and who had to run to the top of the road to give directions', said the Labour councillor. Cllr. Lawlor wondered why the Chief Fire Officer hadn't written to him since he was the one who had raised the matter. 'He had to go through the Director of Services. I can give him my Eircode', he said.

Independent councillor Ger Carthy said that as 'directors of a company, it is perfectly within our remit to raise issues in relation to the county fire service'.

Fianna Fail councillor Lisa McDonald said the language used in the letter was very conditional. 'He's not saying they do use it, he's saying they can use it.'

Cllr. Carthy added that he didn't like the tone of the last paragraph of the letter and said the Chief Fire Officer seemed to be taking it personally.

Citing an incident recently when he complained about delays in pre-planning meetings, Cllr. Carthy said some officials seem to take things personally and they say it to you when you're getting coffee after the meeting.

'Don't take it personally. We're raising issues on behalf of the people of Wexford,' he said.

Independent councillor David Hynes said he raised concern about data protection restrictions and he was 'told off'.

Wexford People

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