Possible plans for a new Fire Station in County Carlow

A new fire station may be on the cards for Bagenalstown, County Carlow, as according to Carlow’s Chief Fire Officer Gerard W. Guerin, the current station which is in the centre of the town is no longer ideal.

The station in Bagenalstown / Muine Bheag was due for an upgrade at an estimated cost of €500,000, however that idea is now likely to be scrapped and it is possible a new fire station may be build on the Royal Oak Road instead.

CW12 BAgenalstown Fire Station
Current Bagenalstown Fire Station – Photo: (Fire-Ireland.com)

News of the possible new fire station was revealed at last week’s meeting of Carlow County Council when Mr. Guerin responded to a question raised by Councillor Michael Doran. The Chief Fire Officer told the meeting that although the original idea was to update the existing facility at an estimated cost of half a million euro, the fire service was now considering building a brand new fire station on a completely new site.

“The current one is in the centre of the town and that’s not ideal. We’re looking at a site on the Royal Oak Road instead” he said.

Carlow Fire Station HQ and Title

Carlow County Fire Service has fire stations in Carlow Town, Bagenalstown, Tullow and Hacketstown.

The county also has a state-of-the-art Training and Development Centre in Hacketstown which is used by many other fire services across Ireland for various recruitment, training and refresher courses.

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Graphics Courtesy Dermot Scully

Thirty Garda Stations to benefit from €60m programme

Thirty Garda Stations will benefit from a €60m Building and Refurbishment programme by the Department of Justice. The programme will include a number of strategic priorities for the force.

The announcement was made at Athlone Garda Station on Wednesday 21st October by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald, Minister of State Simon Harris, where they were joined by the Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’ Sullivan and Clare McGrath, Chairman of the Commissioners of Public Works.

Garda and Station Tramore
Photo: (Tramore Garda Station)

As part of the programme, major refurbishment to garda stations will take place. This will include facilities for meeting victims of crime, essential remedial works to existing stations, upgrade to cells and improved custody management facilities. The programme will also see a Public Private Partnership project to deliver new Garda stations in key areas.

New garda stations will be provided for at Kevin Street, Dublin, Wexford town and Galway while redevelopment projects are ongoing in Dundrum, Dublin and Wicklow town.

Fire-fighter Niall Tomkins was a ‘fine, friendly and happy man’

Fire fighters from across Ireland travelled to Galway this week to pay their last respects to a friend, a colleague and a good fireman. Fire-fighter Niall Tomkins passed away at the age of 35 following a short illness.

Originally from Claddagh, Galway, Niall had four sisters and just two weeks prior to his death; Niall married his long-term girlfriend Deirdre. Niall was described by many as a fine friendly and happy man.

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(Photo: Fire Fighters salute as the remains of Niall Tomkins passes the fire station)

By Declan Keogh
A fit man and a keen runner, Niall first joined Galway Fire Service in 2011 where he quickly grew a love of the service and in 2014 he qualified to become a full-time fire-fighter with Galway City Fire Service. He trained  for the full-time position in Cork with Cork City Fire Brigade.

His colleagues in Galway and those who know him from the various training exercises and refresher courses around the country viewed him as a valued member of the fire service.

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Hundreds of Fire Officers and Fire Fighters from stations across Ireland attended his funeral.

Galway Fire Service has paid special tribute to their friend. Niall’s colleagues at Galway Fire Station have expressed their thanks to the fire personnel, Gardai, Ambulance Paramedics and members of other services who expressed their condolences and attended the funeral masses.

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In a statement to Emergency Times, Galway Fire Service said “Members of Galway Fire and Rescue Service would like to pass on our sincere condolences following the death of Fire-fighter Niall Tomkins after a short illness. We extend our condolences to his wife Deirdre, his parents and his sisters”.

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“We would like to thank all the people who were involved in the funeral arrangements, especially An Garda Siochana who kept all routes clear for the procession, all the Fire-fighters from around the Country especially the fire-fighters from Cork City who Niall trained with before becoming full- time in Galway and to the girls working in the Fire Station office who helped with refreshments, and finally all the Galway Fire-fighters both City and County for their assistance”.

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A book of condolences was opened at Galway Fire Station.

Emergency Times would like to express our own condolences to the wife and family of Mr. Tomkins and his colleagues at Galway Fire Service.

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(Photo: The late Fire Fighter Niall Tomkins)

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam
All Photos courtesy of Galway Fire & Rescue Service

Minister signs law allowing trained people administer life-saving medicine

The Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has signed new laws allowing life-saving rescue medicines to be administered by trained members of the public in emergency situations. The Minister has also expanded the range of vaccines which can be administered by pharmacists.Both measures have been brought in through a Statutory Instrument.

Minister Loe Varadker
(Minister Varadkar speaking at a Respond confernce)

The life-saving situations may include glucagon for diabetic hypoglycaemia, adrenaline auto-injectors (epipens, anapen, jext, emerade etc) for severe allergic reactions and glyceryl trinitrate for angina (severe chest pain) for severe allergic reactions and glyceryl trinitrate for angina (severe chest pain).

Organisations such as colleges, workplaces and sports venues will be allowed to hold these medicines and arrange for staff to be trained in their use. The Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council which accredits paramedics will be given the role of accrediting courses for lay people which will be available in coming months. The move is being welcomed by many Community First Responder groups.

(Community Respond Conference in Tullamore) Photo: Declan Keogh

Additionally pharmacists will be able to supply and administer these medicines to individuals in emergency circumstances. The Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland is developing training standards and it is envisaged that they will be able to commission and accredit courses in the coming months.

Between 2007 and 2013, 16,722 people died in Ireland after suffering a heart attack from multiple causes, 359 died following an acute asthma attack, 17 from hypoglycaemia, and four from severe allergic shock.

Minister Varadkar said: “These are important new healthcare initiatives which have the potential to save lives. I am allowing organisations such as colleges, workplaces and sports venues to hold emergency ‘rescue’ medicines and arrange for staff to be trained in their use. Pharmacists will also be able to supply and administer these medicines to individuals in emergency circumstances.

“These new arrangements do not in any way change the existing ‘good Samaritan’ rule which allows any member of the public to assist a person in distress to administer a medicine which has been prescribed to them. Equally, these Regulations in no way diminish the responsibility or the importance of people continuing to carry the medicines that they need to manage their own health needs.

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(Photo for illustration purposes) Photo: Declan Keogh

The Minister said he was also expanding the range of vaccines which can be administered by pharmacists. Since 2011 pharmacists have been able to offer the flu vaccine to patients. Under the new regulations pharmacists will now also be able to offer shingles and pneumococcal vaccines.

Minister Varadkar has changed existing rules to make medicines, such as adrenaline auto-injectors (epipens), glucagon, salbutamol and naloxone, more available for use in emergencies for the purpose of saving life or reducing severe distress.

The full range of emergency medicines covered by the new regulations are –
· adrenaline auto-injectors (epipens) (treatment of anaphylaxis)
· glyceryl trinitrate (treatment of unstable angina)
· salbutamol (treatment of asthma attacks)
· glucagon (treatment of diabetic hypoglycaemia)
· naloxone (treatment of opioid overdose)
· entonox (gas mixture consisting of 50% nitrous oxide and 50% oxygen) (management of severe pain when used by emergency rescue organisations e.g. mountain rescue teams).

The new regulations will allow pharmacists to supply and administer the shingles and pneumococcal vaccines. Two thirds of shingles cases occur in individuals over 50 years of age. Pneumococcal infection is the most common cause of pneumonia.  International evidence shows that the provision of vaccines through pharmacies increases uptake. It is expected that the new vaccines will be available from early next year. Currently, these vaccines are only available from a GP or hospital.

Thousands attend State funeral of Garda Tony Golden

The state funeral of Garda Tony Golden is taking place today. Garda Golden was shot dead in the line of duty on Sunday night last at a housing estate in Omeath, Co. Louth.

The 36 year old Garda will be buried following his funeral mass at 12 noon today at St Oliver Plunkett’s Church in Blackrock, Co. Louth where he and his wife Nicola lived with their three young children.

Emergency Times Garda Tony Golden RIP

President Michael D. Higgins, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald TD and Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’ Sullivan all led tributes following the news of Tony’s death.  The President said “I want to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the garda who so tragically lost his life while responding to this incident. My thoughts at this time are also with all others who have been affected by the events in Omeath earlier this evening.”

The Justice Minister said “The fact a garda has laid down his life while protecting the community is a cause of great sadness.His death will be mourned by the entire nation, grateful for the service which he gave to it.” She also said “While no words at this time can be expected to console his wife and children, his family, his colleagues and all who loved him, they know he gave his life in the best traditions of An Garda Siochana protecting the community he was so proud to serve.”

Emergency Times Garda funeral

The Garda Representatives Association and the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors echoed the Garda Commissioners statement following the news. The Commissioner said she was deeply saddened to hear of the death of her colleague. “At this time my thoughts and prayers and those of the entire Gardaservice are with his family, friends and colleagues.This incident highlights the unique nature of the job carried out by the men and women of An Garda Síochána, and the dangers they face everyday. I am deeply saddened to hear of the death of my colleague in a fatal shooting incident this evening while carrying out their duties” she said.

Emergency Times Garda Tony Golden Tribute at Station Pic Caroline Quinn

A state funeral will take place for the late Garda. A Traffic Management Plan has been put in place and roads around the village of Blackrock are closed from 10am until approximately 2pm today. Thousands of people are expected to attend the funeral including the President, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD and members of all political parties. The GRA is providing bus transport for thousands of Gardai from across Ireland who are due to attend the funeral to pay their last respects to their colleague.

The Government has said that flags will fly at half mast from public offices and Garda stations today. The Dail sitting is also being suspended for the day.

Emergency Times Garda Tony Golden Garda Maria O' Sullivansigns book of condolences
(Photo: Garda Maria O’ Sullvan signs book of condolences)

Reacting to the shooting dead of Garda Golden, the Garda Representative Association said it is shocked and saddened by the awful news. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time. GRA President Dermot O’Brien said, “This dreadful, dreadful news is the deepest fear of every police family. This puts everything we do into perspective. At this time of distress, the garda family will be doing everything possible to support the late garda’s relatives and loved ones, friends and colleagues.” May he Rest in Peace.

Tributes were also paid by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors. Deputy General Secretary of the AGSI, John Jacob said that the Omeath community is “very close-knit and will rally around the gardaí.“This is an incident that could not have been anticipated by the guard. In rural Ireland, gardaí routinely attend calls on their own.The gardaí use all these experiences to learn lessons.”

Members of all the emergency and voluntary services are also in attendance to pay their respects. Senior officials from the Defence Forces, the National Ambulance Service and the Police Service of Northern Ireland are represented at the funeral. The Garda Band will also play at the funeral.

24-year-old Adrian Crevan Mackin, who shot the garda, also seriously wounded his girlfriend Siobhan Phillips before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Siobhan Phillips remains in critical condition at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin.

Siobhan’s parents, Sean and Norma Phillips issued a statement and said Tony Golden laid down his life to save their daughter. “We would like to pay tribute to and express our condolences to the family and colleagues of Garda Anthony Golden. Garda Golden, in the service and protection of others, laid down his life for my daughter Siobhan, myself and my family. There are no words to express our gratitude for his bravery; we are forever in his debt.”

640 Garda Golden and Siobhan Phllips

Mr and Mrs Phillips said their “beautiful daughter Siobhan, a loving mother, sister and friend” is still fighting for her life at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin. For now, we pray for Siobhan’s recovery and for the family of Garda Golden as they face their immeasurable grief and we ask for privacy for our family and Siobhan’s small children at this time.”

Emergency Times would like to extend our sympathy and sincere condolences to the family and friends of the late Garda Tony Golden, and to his colleagues and th members of An Garda Siochana.

€269m allocated for new Garda fleet, ICT System and station upgrades

An unprecedented allocation of €875 million in capital funding for the Justice sector has been welcomed by the Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD. The planned investment as outlined in the Governments Capital Plan 2016-2021 sets out strategic objectives.

As part of the plan, An Garda Siochana is being provided with a total of €269m for garda vehicles and the Garda ICT system. Of that, €46m is being provided for new Garda vehicles, €18m will be provided for garda station refurbishment and a major additional investment of €205m is being allocated for new technology and IT systems for the force.

garda CAr Fleet
Photo: (Garda Press Office)

Funding will be provide for both regular Garda patrol vehicles as well as specialist, high-power vehicles for targeted operations.

Announcing the allocation, Minister Fitzgerald said “The substantial investment of €46 million for new Garda vehicles proves this Government’s ongoing priority commitment to ensure that the Garda fleet is modern, effective and fit-for-purpose. Access to new and modern vehicles is vital in ensuring Gardai can be mobile, responsive and visible in the community, both urban and rural.” she said.

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Photo: (Declan Keogh)

Since 2012, the Government has invested nearly €29 million in new Garda vehicles with 370 new Garda vehicles having come on stream since the start of this year.

The additional allocation of €205 million for Garda ICT systems and technology will bring the overall Garda ICT funding to €330 million over the lifetime of the capital plan.

The Minister stated: “The substantial additional investment of €205 million in new technology and systems for An Garda Síochána delivers on my commitment to progress important reforms of An Garda Síochána on foot of last year’s comprehensive report from the Garda Síochána Inspectorate.

Ten fatalities including one child following Dublin Fire

Ireland has woken up shocking and devastating news this morning as a ‘number of fatalities’ have been confirmed following serious blaze in Dublin this morning. it is understood that ten people, including children are among the dead. Six units of Dublin Fire Brigade and several Ambulances are at the scene.

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(Pic: Joe Mac Raollaigh via Twitter)

The incident is on a halting site, Carrickmines, South County Dublin. Two adults and two children have been taken to St. Vincent’s Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. One person was rescued from the fire. 

The fire is believed to have started at around 4am at a domestic dwelling on the Glenamuck Road, Carrickmnes.

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(Pic: Joe Mac Raollaigh via Twitter)

Dublin Fire Brigade say they are dealing with what is described as a ‘serious incident’. Six units of the fire brigade from Dun Laoghaire, Donneybrook and Nutgrove fire stations at the scene. Five ambulances and an incident officer from the National Ambulance Service were also called. Gardai have closed the Glenamuck road in both directions.


National Fire Safety Week 2015 to launch in Belfast

National Fire Safety Week, which runs from 5th October to 12th October, will be officially launched in Belfast today. This national fire safety themed week is a joint initiative by the Department of Environment, Local Authority Fire Services in Ireland and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.

Fire Safety Week Poster

According to the Department’s website, the theme of this year’s campaign is ‘Together we can STOP fire’.

S: Smoke Alarms
T: Test your smoke alarm weekly
O: Obvious dangers
P: Plan your escape.

For more on National Fire Safety Week, visit firesafety.ie

Planned day of Industrial action by Dublin Fire Brigade called off

Tomorrows planned day of industrial action by SIPTU members of Dublin Fire Brigade has been called off following meetings between Dublin City Council and fire fighter representatives on Friday, when both parties agreed to a set of proposals tabled by the workplace relations commission.

Fire DFB Strike Protest

SIPTU members had accepted proposals on a recruitment plan that will see numbers in the service brought up to what the union called safe minimum manning levels. Sector organiser Brendan O’ Brien said ‘a time-lined recruitment and promotion programme within DFB is needed in order to meet this agreement’.

“The main provisions of this agreement include a commitment by both parties that numbers in the Dublin Fire Brigade should be brought up to 963, in line with the agreed safe manning levels that have been in place since 1991. In order to meet this commitment a time-lined recruitment and promotion programme within DFB has been agreed.

It has been agreed to establish a joint working group to look at ways to address the current shortages in firefighters pending the arrival of the new recruits.

Gerry Harris, SIPTU’s DFB convenor said the agreement, once implemented, “will ensure that fire-fighters can provide the best service possible to the residents of Dublin”.

The planned industrial action was due to take place on the first day of National Fire Safety Week which runs from 5th to 12th October.