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Monday 5 December 2016

Proud day as 49 men - and one woman - join city's firefighters

Firefighter John Walsh from Ratoath, Co. Meath pictured with his partner, Sarah Murphy and children, Mia (8) and Morgan (4) after he graduated as a full firefighter this afternoon at Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre
Firefighter John Walsh from Ratoath, Co. Meath pictured with his partner, Sarah Murphy and children, Mia (8) and Morgan (4) after he graduated as a full firefighter this afternoon at Dublin Fire Brigade Training Centre
Firefighter Larry O'Toole from Newbridge, Co. Kildare pictured with his wife Lorraine and their children, Sarah (3) and Daithi (1)
Firefighter Paul Moore from Donnycarney pictured with his partner, Lyndsey and their daughter, Bobbi Ellen (5months)
Firefighter Philip Keogh from Clonsilla pictured with his girlfriend, Mary Barrett from Kerry

Training to be a firefighter is tough enough, but try being the only woman in the class.

New Dublin Fire Brigade recruit Caroline Grace (29), from Raheny, wasn't too concerned with being the only woman among 50 budding fire officers, though.

"It's always been a dream I had and I was filled with pride and a little bit of disbelief that I eventually got there," said Caroline.

"It was one of the toughest things - it challenged me mentally and physically.

Collisions

"It was myself and 49 lads - it was OK. Obviously, it would have been nice to have some female company, but at the same time they all looked after me and always had my back."

Caroline will be stationed at North Strand.

The 15-week training included courses in dealing with road traffic collisions and hazardous materials. Gardai also provided expert training to the officers.

For Kilbarrack's latest addition, Stephen Sweetman, it may have been a difficult journey, but he passed with flying colours. Stephen (26), from Artane, won the award for best recruit - which was no great surprise.

"My father was 30 years serving with Dublin Fire Brigade, my brother-in-law is a member of the brigade, I have a cousin currently serving and I've another cousin set to start in the next class, so we're a fire brigade family," said Stephen.

He said the four months of training had left little time for family life.

"My own girlfriend had to put up with a lot of long nights where I was putting in the preparation needed because a lot of hard work was required," he said.

"It meant that the class weren't seeing as much of our families and our better halves as we'd like, but they were all very happy for us."

Dublin Lord Mayor Brendan Carr also commended the leaders who provided instruction to the new firefighters - a combined 37,000 hours of training,

"We're proud to have trained yet another class of recruits this year over the past 15 weeks," he said.

Vital

"The calibre of the recruits passing out is a testament to the remarkable hard work and dedication of the instructors and of the recruits themselves.

"Dublin Fire Brigade provides a vital service for the city and county of Dublin.

"I have no doubt that all new firefighters joining the ranks of Dublin Fire Brigade will continue to uphold that."

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