Change to Survive - The Wider Role of the Fire and Rescue Services
Mr Michael Finneran, T.D., Minister for Housing and Local Services (6th May, 2009 ) opened the annual Conference of Chief Fire Officers* Annual Conference in Mullingar this morning.
At the opening session the Minister stated *In today*s turbulent economic times, the demands from limited resources place greater scrutiny on value for money, outcomes to be achieved and service delivery. It is imperative that delivery of the fire service continues to be cost effective and deliver value for money.* The Minister acknowledged that change within the fire service was not a new phenomenon. *In recent years, there has been an acceleration in the changes demanded of the fire services. In times of change, there is a tendency for an organisation to look for leadership. I understand you as Chief Fire Officers and senior managers in the local government sector have shown such leadership in the many changes introduced over recent years in the fire services.* he said.
The Minister stated that he intends shortly to complete the review of arrangements of the management structure at central Government level for the fire services, which will not interfere with the existing and appropriate political accountability and local responsibility of fire authorities.
The Minister thanked Chief Fire Officers for their willingness to come on board in advancing key policy areas in community fire safety, advancing health and safety and major emergency management. He also complimented the Association on taking on new challenges generated by other programmes.
Referring in particular to Major Emergency Management, the Minister said that it has enhanced this country*s capacity to respond to major emergencies. The Minister stressed that *The public are assured by the integrated and sensible approach adopted by the State. It is only in times of perceived threat such as the Swine Flu Pandemic that the importance of the preparatory work done behind the scenes in emergency management is appreciated*. The Minister noted that closer working arrangements between An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and local authorities are now in place.*