By Paul O’Donovan
The Mullingar Fire Brigade now has one of the most up to date fire engines in the country, with the keys handed over by Council Cathaoirleach Cllr. Paddy Hill, to Paul McLoughlin, Station Officer and Declan Cahill, SACFO for the new Scania P320 series engine, costing €400,000, and which will enhance the capabilities of the service.
The hand-over took place when members of the Westmeath Fire and Rescure Service were finally presented with their 1916-2016 Commemorative Medals at a ceremony held in Mullingar Fire Station before Christmas.
NEW FIRE ENGINE
Declan Cahill, Senior Assistant Chief Fire Officer (SACFO) was delighted that Westmeath Fire and Rescue Service have received a new fire engine. Speaking to Topic, Declan explained about the great advantages of having a new, modern, up to date engine.
“The project in securing the new engine was about a year long project. It was funded by the national directors in Dublin in Customs House. The new engine cost approximately €400,000. It is a Scania P320 series. It has a 3010 pump on it which means it can pump up to 30,000 litres a minute at a pressure of ten bar. This engine is the latest up to date model and can deal with most house fires we have in Westmeath. It has the latest technology regarding pumps. All the pumping is nearly electronic now so it gives us digital information about what we are doing and what we are pumping. It is completely decked out in new equipment and appliances. The ladders alone cost approximately €20,000.
It even has seat covers in maroon for Westmeath with the Westmeath logo on it. That was difficult for me as a Cavan man, joked Declan, but it had to be done,” he said with a smile.
‘Late Late’ Medals
Members of the Mullingar Fire Personnel and Castlepollard Fire Personel that were in service in 2016, as well as Senior Fire Officers in service in 2016 were present for the presentation ceremony.
Also in attendance were Chief Fire Officer Alan O’Neill and Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council Paddy Hill, who presented the fire fighters with their medals.
Before the presentation of medals Chief Fire Officer Alan O’Neill commended the fire fighters for the great work they do, their incredible dedication and commitment to their job.
Alan also thanked everyone who arranged the presentation ceremony. Alan also pointed out that members of the Athlone and Kilbeggan Fire Service would receive their medals at a ceremony the following evening. After the medal presentation in Mullingar during which all fire personnel received their medals, there was an added bonus when the keys of a brand new Fire Engine were officially handed over to the Westmeath Fire and Rescue Service.
Speaking to Topic at the commemorative medal ceremony Chief Fire Officer Alan O’Neill said, “Under the Programme for Government 2016 there was a decision made to issue commemorative medals to all members of the Defence Forces. Through no fault of anyone, we were overlooked at the time, as we came under the mandate for local government under the Department of Planning, Housing and Local Government. So there was obviously some reconciliation done over time and the government made a commitment to honour the great contribution that the Fire Services have made over the last hundred years since 1916. Following a procurement process 3,500 medals were conditioned to be procured nationally, with 47 of them being distributed to fire fighters in Westmeath, past and present, who served back in April 2016,” said Alan.
TRIBUTE TO GREAT WORK FIRE FIGHTERS DO
The Chief Fire Officer was also very quick to praise the great work and commitment shown by the fire fighters.
“The fire fighters here in Westmeath work in a retained service and it is very different to a full time fire fighter where you know your hours and you know you have work and a shift pattern and you have prescribed over time. However with your retained service here in Westmeath you never know when and where you are going to be called to work for a service that is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For example we will be on call all over Christmas, but hopefully everyone gets to enjoy some family time over Christmas and we won’t get called out, but in the past certain circumstances have led to occasions where we have missed Christmas dinner because of a large incident.
But it goes with the job. Everyone is fully committed to their job and I would just like to thank them all for their great commitment and acknowledge the great sacrifices that they and their families make to provide this service within Westmeath,” said Alan.
By Paul O’Donovan