Cross border fire service cooperation figures revealed

Figures published this week show the Northern Ireland Fire Service crosses the border to help in Donegal and the other border counties far more than the help given in the opposite direction.

The figures were published by Health and Public Safety Minister Michael McGimpsey at the request of East Derry MLA John Dallat, who says he'd like to see the cooperation enhanced further.

According to the figures, the North’s fire service has crossed the border 548 times since 2005, while appliances from the South have only crossed the border on 18 occasions since 2007. Figures are not available for 05 and 06.

Minister Mc Gimpsey told the assembly that the North’s Chief Fire Officer meets four times a year with the Chief Fire Officers of the six border counties in the Republic to discuss common issues including operational co-operation and training.

While a county by county breakdown of the statistics is not available, the North West comes out strongest for cooperation, with an operational agreement in place between the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and Donegal County Council, and a partnership is in place between Belleek, Ballyshannon and Bundoran.