THE manager of the Tory Island Co-op believes the lack of appropriate fire fighting services and equipment on the island is a disaster waiting to happen.
Ms Marjorie Uí Chearbhaill was speaking following a recent report, commissioned by the Donegal Fire Association, which highlighted a number of ways in which facilities on both Arranmore and Tory did not meet minimum standards.
At present, an adapted sheep trailer with pumps, cutting gear and a defibrillator, which can be towed by a car or tractor, makes up the fire brigade facilities on Tory island.
Manager at the islands Co-Op, Comharchumann Thoraí Teo, Ms Uí Chearbhaill said it was scandalous that there was no proper fire fighting equipment on the island.
“We don’t have minimum, Third World, equipment when it comes to fighting a fire on Tory. We’ve no fire tender and nothing to tow the adapted sheep trailer. If there was a fire, the first thing we need to find is someone with a tow-bar,” she said.
Cafe an Chreagain, the island’s only cafe, was destroyed by fire in February 2015 and Ms Uí Chearbhaill expressed her concerns that lessons had still not been learnt.
“Islanders deserve to be treated the same as those on the mainland. The lack of provision of fire services on the island is a form of discrimination which puts lives at great risk,” she warned.
The fire equipment on Tory is stored in a sheep trailer that has been modified with shelves and hooks on which to hang hoses, cutting gear, pumps and a defibrillator.
“It’s shocking that in 2017, in such a remote place, there’s not even basic equipment. On the mainland, there’s back-up fire services in both Falcarragh and Gweedore should there be a fire in Magheraroarty whereas we have nothing out here.
“When the cafe was destroyed two years ago they were unable to get it under control. There were problems with the water pressure that day and although the lads got there within 15 minutes there wasn’t enough pressure to help put the fire out,” Ms Uí Chearbhaill said.
Concerns over the facilities at both Arranmore and Tory were raised with the Director of Donegal Fire Service after a draft report, commissioned by the Donegal Fire Association, was presented to councillors by Head of Finance, Garry Martin, at a recent meeting of Donegal County Council.
Councillors voted by a small majority to refer the authority’s Fire and Emergency Operations Plan back to the Environment and Emergency Service SPC for further consideration before adopting it, at the request of the committee’s chairman, Cllr Jack Murray of Sinn Féin.
The move was seconded by his party colleague, Marie Therese Gallagher. She has called for a full investigation into Fire Stations on Tory Island and Arranmore Island.
Mr Martin admitted a report had been given to the Chief Fire Officer in relation to concerns, but dismissed suggestions fire stations on both islands were currently not safe.
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Posted: 8:30 am November 17, 2017