Tuesday, 15 April 2003
Licensing of Indoor Events Bill 2001: Second Stage.
Pat Gallagher (Minister of State, Department of the Environment and Local Government; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
It can vary from time to time. Senator Quinn raised a question concerning the recommendations of the Farrell, Grant Sparks report on fire safety and services, including the proposal to establish a national fire authority. A number of recommendations are being considered by the Minister. We can all agree that there are many positive recommendations to improve the delivery of fire services. It does not follow, however, that it is essential to establish a national fire authority to implement many, if not all, of the recommendations proposed by the Farrell, Grant Sparks report. The Department is working with fire service stakeholders to develop an approach towards implementing the recommendations, many of which can be implemented without establishing a national fire authority. While no definite decision has been taken, I would be happy if the recommendations could be implemented without a national fire authority. Is it necessary to have another layer of bureaucracy? If it can be done otherwise, it should be.
The recommendations include the development of community fire safety and a risk-based approach to fire cover. These recommendations should be examined more closely. I have no intention of delaying their implementation but before taking any further steps, I want to ensure frank and comprehensive discussions take place with the stakeholders concerned. That is the way to proceed.