The Joint National Full-Time and Retained Fire Service committees of SIPTU have welcomed the announcement by environment minister, Alan Kelly, of the establishment of the Fire Services National Oversight and Implementation Group (FSNOIG). According to SIPTU Organiser, Con Casey, the initiative brings to a close a lengthy dispute between the union and the fire service management over the contents of the controversial ‘Keeping Communities Safe’ (KCS) document prepared by the Department of the Environment last year. He said that SIPTU members in the fire service had successfully resisted attempts to reduce crewing levels and to introduce other unacceptable proposals which were contained in the document. He said: “The establishment of the FSNOIG now provides an agreed means by which our members in both the full-time and retained fire services will have full participation in the future development of a modern, effective and efficient fire and rescue service. “This successful outcome has been achieved thanks to the effective campaign co-ordinated by the SIPTU joint national fire committees, which included the 'Section 26 campaign' where local authorities were persuaded by our members not to introduce KCS. “The national demonstration and march to the Dáil earlier this year by SIPTU full time and retained fire fighters and the ballot for industrial action taken by members of the retained service were also part of the campaign. “We welcome the assistance given by the minister in reaching this agreement and we now look forward to working with the Department to ensure that the best interests of both our fire fighter members and the public are served by delivering the best possible protection and service.”