SIPTU has called for an urgent and wide-ranging fire safety audit of properties due to the number of serious breaches being discovered in buildings across the country. SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “For several years we have requested that our fire services are resourced to conduct these essential audits to confirm the true level of compliance with fire safety standards of buildings across the country. Unfortunately, these requests have been ignored despite the growing awareness of defects in many buildings, including schools and apartment complexes such as Longboat Quay in Dublin and Riverside Walk in county Meath. “Not only has the management of the fire service ignored our calls for risk assessments to be carried out but they have refused to share vital information on known defects with operational officers. This has led to unnecessarily increased risk for members of the public and our firefighters.” He added: “We support the recent call by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, for a wide-ranging safety audit of premises. However, this call by the Minister must be backed up by the provision of adequate resources to make such an audit an immediate reality.” SIPTU National Retained Fire-fighter Organiser, Con Casey, said: “A culture of silence and inaction by the relevant authorities, including the Health and Safety Authority, alongside the so-called 'light touch' regulation of construction projects has allowed a situation to develop where risks for the public and fire service personnel have been significantly increased. Immediate action is now required to address this situation. “The authorities must act decisively now and not wait until after a fatality has been caused due to the failure to identify existing defects."