Fire service facesdifficult financialchallenges: boss

The head of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) says the organisation is facing very difficult financial challenges ahead.

Jim Wallace, NIFRS Chief Executive, made the comments following the publication of its Annual Report & Statement of Accounts 2013/14 and a summary of its Performance over the past year (2013/14).

He said: “How we perform as an organisation makes a difference to people’s lives, by protecting them and keeping them safe from fires and a range of other emergencies.

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“The past year was one of extreme weather conditions - wildland fires, severe flooding and the unprecedented tidal surges. This combined with the delivery of 2 major global events of which we were a key partner - the G8 Summit and the World Police & Fire Games, challenged our emergency response and resilience – and we rose to the challenge. I believe over the past year we have made a real difference to the safety and well-being of the people of Northern Ireland

“Like all public services we are facing very difficult financial challenges ahead. Over the past year we have undertaken considerable work and continue to do so to prepare ourselves for these challenges to ensure we are making the very best possible use of our resources to provide the most efficient service going forward.

“Our organisation is on a journey of transformation to provide the most effective, most efficient and safe service possible to the public. Although we are not there yet and much still needs to be done - significant progress has been made over the past year to change, improve and transform the way we do things and we have a clear direction of travel going forward.”