SIPTU firefighters have renewed their demand for fire assessments in all properties following the extent of the risks in some buildings being highlighted once again in a documentary broadcast on RTE last night (Thursday, 3rd November). SIPTU Sector Organiser, Brendan O’Brien, said: “SIPTU representatives have consistently called for proper robust risk assessments to be conducted nationally, particularly given the safety issues arising from the prevalent ‘self certification’ culture. Such robust risk assessments take place in Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom, where they basically ask ‘what is behind the front door’ and identify particular hazards.” SIPTU National Retained Firefighter Committee Chair, Ciaran Scallon, said: “We have repeatedly called for the introduction of an extensive and thorough programme of fire assessments of all properties at meetings of the Fire Services National Oversight and Implementation Group. However, these calls have met stiff resistance from the management side, who have recently refused to even carry out a pilot project of fire based risk assessments in Cork, Dublin and Limerick.”Dublin Fire Brigade Convenor, Shane McGill, said: “It is clear that the fire risks in cities in particular have changed substantially and the fire service needs to respond accordingly. We are now dealing with multi-occupancy dwellings the likes of which have not been seen since the time of the tenements. As shown in the programme, there are many people living in these overcrowded and clearly unsafe units. Adding to the problem is the large amount of combustible material evident in these dwellings. In addition, height restrictions have also been lifted on building in the city, which will lead to more high rise.SIPTU National Full-time Firefighters Chair, Noel Heaney, said: “Operational fire prevention staffing numbers have not increased since the outcome of the Stardust fire enquiry. They urgently need to be increased in order to conduct fire safety inspections of buildings. It is time now for the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, to directly intervene and ensure an adequate programme of fire assessments supported by proper resources and investment is introduced immediately.”