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Saturday 18 November 2017

Paying for fire brigade makes me flaming mad

IF YOUR house is burning down you should never, ever run back into the building to save valuables.

Well, actually, now you probably should. Grab your wallet at least. Because from this week it will cost you €500 for a fire brigade callout.

That's just for the first hour, mind you. If the firefighters are there for any longer, Dublin City Council will charge up to €485. Per hour.

You might as well let the place burn, because you'll end up bankrupt at that rate anyway. Seriously though, this hiked fee will make householders reluctant to call 999.

Even worse, they might be inclined to have a go at putting out the fire themselves, risking life and limb.

Remember, fire services don't just fight fires. They also respond to medical emergencies. Let's say you're caring for someone, an elderly person perhaps, and they fall. You dial 999 and the fire brigade comes. Do you get the bill? What if the injured person is billed, but can't pay?

And what about malicious callouts? Who pays for those?

The council says the increased cost will be absorbed by home insurance. Is that the same home insurance being dropped by thousands each year because they can't afford to pay it, or are in arrears on their payments?

We might also ask what are we paying taxes for anyway?

Any hikes to the costs of life-or-death services are a charge too far. If fatalities occur as a result, on the city council's head be it.

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