A Full fire crew was attacked yesterday when they responded to a call-out to a bonfire in a housing estate.
One Units of Limerick City & County Fire Service were mobilised to a report of a bonfire close to the Claughaun Court estate, Garryowen at around 8pm yesterday evening.
When the fire crew emerged from the appliance which was parked on the road close to the incident, they were attacked by up to 15 youths who fired rocks, planks of wood and shovels at them. They also used pool cues during the attack.
The fire appliance on which the fire crew rode was also damaged when a large rock was thrown through the windscreen.
A number of fire fighters were injured, thankfully however, none of them required hospital treatment. GArdai and an ambulance were called to the scene.
This is the second attack on Limerick Fire fighters since January. On that occasion, fire fighters who responded to a fire at St. Mary’s Park were attacked by another group, who threw roof slates, clocks, rocks and bottles at the crew.
Gardai are investigating yesterday’s incident and so far, no arrests have been made.
Amateur footage of yesterday’s incident has emerged, which shows the gang of thugs attacking the fire fighters.
Garryowen Bonfire Tradition
A bonfire is lit in housing estates in Garryowen on the eve of May every year. In 2012, fire fighters in Limerick were also attacked when they were called to deal with an out of control fire on a housing estate. Some fire fighters were taken to hospital following that attack.
Similar incidents of attacks on emergency service personnel have been widely condemned with many calling for full implementation of the legislation to allow for full prosecutions, leading to mandatory jail sentences, for attacks on members of the emergency services.
Limerick FF TD Deputy Niall Collins said attacks on emergency services were a “serious low in society, and something that should be eradicated with the appropriate deterrents.”
Last year, IFESA, the Irish Fire and Emergency Service Association, called for the then Government to review their decision to reject legislation allowing mandatory jail sentences for those convicted of assaulting and injuring emergency services workers.
The association says that every 36 hours, a member of the frontline emergency services is attacked while on duty. Over the past eight years, an estimated 2,000 serious attacks have taken place on emergency services workers in Ireland, with 1,551 attacks confirmed between 2006 and 2011.
While the numbers of attacks on Limerick fire fighters is below the national average, there has been a slight increase on the numbers of attacks and the premeditation used by the offenders.
Speaking about previous attacks on frontline staff, IFESA chairman John Kidd said that frontline services are not being properly protected by the Government. “It is an extraordinary situation that emergency workers, who everyone in society says are doing a great job, are not being properly protected in the course of their duties,” he said.
Video footage of the atacs.