herald

Thursday 26 April 2018

Will you now be billed for calling the fire brigade?

CALLING the fire brigade could be the next service to face a price hike.

Dublin City Council is considering increasing the fees charged across the capital for fire callouts, the Herald can reveal.

And as a further revenue raising initiative, the local authority is examining ways of using the high-tech training centre for commercial purposes.

It comes at a time of upheaval for Dublin Fire Brigade, which is set to hand over its role of mobilising ambulances to the HSE next year.

Assistant city manager Seamus Lyons revealed the "possible introduction of some additional charges in the brigade for callouts".

The service is free at the moment to private households in Dublin city and county.

However, a fee is levied on commercial premises, starting at €610 and going up depending on the length of time it takes to put out the blaze.

It is unclear whether the increased costs could be charged to private homes.

But householders in some counties are paying more than €350 for callout services.

For example, North Tipperary Council charges homes a €366 fee for domestic callouts, while in south Tipperary the fee is €150.

Mr Lyons said the city council is using the prospect of hiking the charges "as something of a tactic initially" to try to encourage the insurance industry "to assist us in funding some elements of the brigade".

"If they were prepared to do that, we would obviously be able to take that into account in our deliberation on charges," he added.

Mr Lyons said another element would be to bring in cash from hiring out the O'Brien Institute-- the fire brigade's training facility in Marino.

comurphy@herald.ie

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