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Thread: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

  1. #76
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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    The 30 year and 20 year rule has produced some papers relating to the Stardust fire.in which 48 young people died. The appallingly pennypinching and inhumane attitudes of some civil servants are exposed to view.

    I've added the report to this thread as the thread has explored the massive and glaring inefficiency of the Irish fire services. It is now clear that Government was aware of the organisational chaos in the services and refused to take things in hand for financial reasons.

    RALPH RIEGEL – 28 DECEMBER 2013
    A CONFIDENTIAL government memo warned that the full enactment of the recommendations in the Stardust fire tragedy report could leave the State open to civil liability for similar future accidents.

    A total of 48 young people died when the popular Dublin nightclub was gutted in a St Valentine's Day fire on February 14, 1981.
    The Artane blaze remains one of Ireland's worst ever fire tragedies.
    A tribunal of inquiry was held regarding the Stardust tragedy and its report was submitted to the government in 1983.
    Confidential documents, released under the 1983 state archives, now reveal that the government was given detailed legal reasons for not implementing all of the inquiry recommendations.
    One briefing memo warned that full adoption of the recommendations "would fundamentally alter the nature of the relationship between central government and local authorities."
    It said: "If statutory responsibility for control and direction of the fire service is conferred on the Minister, it is likely to leave him open to civil actions for damages in cases similar to (though not necessarily the same magnitude) as the Stardust.
    "It may be argued that in such cases he would bear a share of the responsibility because of a failure to exercise a duty or a power conferred on him."
    The advice revolved around the minister taking statutory responsibility for the Irish fire service -- a move civil servants feared would leave the department open to claims for equipment, manpower and funding.
    "It could lead to fire authorities becoming simply agents of the central government . . . this would lead to a dissipation of interest and the undermining of independence and initiative at local level," the memo said.
    The Stardust tribunal report was particularly scathing about the lack of fire prevention measures which it felt could have avoided the Artane disaster.
    The tribunal found that the fire was "probably caused deliberately, the most likely mechanism being the slashing of some of the seats with a knife and the application of a lighted match or cigarette lighter to the exposed foam or the ignition of newspapers on or under the seats".
    But the inquiry also acknowledged that the evidence as to the precise cause of the fire was "conflicting and inconclusive".
    "The cause of the fire is not known and may never be known," it concluded.
    TRAGEDY
    The report attached responsibility for the scale of the tragedy to the owners of the premises, their advisers, Dublin Corporation and the Department of the Environment.
    In respect of Dublin Corporation, the tribunal found "grave inadequacies in the fire prevention and fire fighting sections of the brigade".
    It ruled that the brigade's fire prevention section was "grossly understaffed and such staff as it had had not the appropriate training or qualifications."
    So Ireland continued to have Europe's highest rate of fire deaths.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  2. #77
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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    The Dublin house fire - was it Henrietta Street ? Looked shocking. The house looked as though it was in a bad state and there were reports of barred windows, and the Herald reported that a family said there was no way out.

    How come the Dublin Fire Service can't inspect rental premises? The standard of older housing is still lethal it seems.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Recycling depot burning for hours in the Clondalkin area - we are being told by RTE that the public are advised to avoid the toxic fumes. No talk of evacuation, so I assume that means closing windows and staying indoors.

    If it is burning plastic that is dioxins and very nasty indeed.


    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    Wicklow County Council was fined over 350,000 over lapses in fire services and training. The Judge said he could not take the deaths of the two firefighters into consideration, as the DPP had withdrawn this aspect of the case.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...ters-1.1573809

    Revealing and disturbing article in the Journal shows that "call vetting" - sending someone from the fire crew out in a car to look at the fire before deciding whether to send out a crew - is delaying reactions to fires.

    http://www.thejournal.ie/bray-fire-m...47127-Oct2013/

    The inquest into the deaths of two firemen in Bray is on.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...uest-1.1708896

    So far, issues have been management and lack of training. The inquest was suspended mid session yestereday, as Wicklow County Council, who are trying to blame the Fire Fighters were presented with evidence contrary to the case they were trying to make - by an intervention by a Guard from the floor of the Court.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    There was a stormy meeting of Wicklow County Council a few days back, in which a Councillor made some no holds barred comments - and wanted a Garda investigation following the contradictory evidence presented to the inquest - which is still in progress.

    Even though he may have been better advised to let the inquest make its findings first it seems a bit extreme that Bray Town Council has since served an eviction order on him and his family.

    Via the wonderful 'rabble.ie'
    A Wicklow Councillor received a hand-delivered notice from Bray Town Council that they were beginning eviction proceedings against him and his family just days after he called for a Garda investigation into alleged evidence-tampering in the case of the deaths of two firefighters.

    On March 6th Wicklow Sinn Féin Councillor John Brady posted a blog saying ‘there needs to be a full Garda investigation to establish the facts of how a five litre tin that may have contained a flammable liquid was mysteriously found at the scene of the fire at Adelaide Villas in Bray that Killed firefighters Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy’.
    The Wicklow News reported from the dramatic turn of events at the inquest of March 6th:
    Once the fire was extinguished on the 26th September at about 3pm the Crime Scene Investigation Unit from the gardaí entered the burnt out premises at Adelaide Villas, Bray and photographed the entire area. The scene was then secured and released at about 6.30pm.
    The following day Michael Slattery, an expert who was engaged by Wicklow County Council to investigate the fire, entered the sealed building with Wicklow fire officials, then Chief Fire Officer, Jim Dunphy, and two senior assistant chief fire officers, Joanne O’Connor and Tadhg O’Shea.
    They photographed the interior of the building and the charred can was discovered on a pile of burnt debris, its lid lying beside it and contents label still legible.
    At the inquest, photos taken on September 26th by gardai clearly show that there was no such can where the Council and Michael Slattery claim to have found it the following day.
    The last occupant of the disused factory before the fire broke out, a joiner named Alan Ryan, also told the inquest that the can was not there when he vacated the premises in 2006.
    During the inquest it was suggested by the barrister for Wicklow County Council that the liquid inside the can may have expanded during the blaze and exploded, causing a fireball which incapacitated the men and led to their deaths.
    It had also been suggested that one of the firefighters may have triggered the event by stepping on the can.
    Yesterday’s dramatic turn of events occurred when Michael Slattery was giving evidence to the court.
    Mr Slattery was using photographic projections during his testimony. As he did so, Det Garda Maurice Hickey, the lead garda in the criminal investigation into the men’s deaths, interjected from his seat in the court.
    “Can I clarify?” he asked as Mr Slattery was giving evidence. “That photograph you took on the 27th that we’re seeing there; that’s in situ, not moved, that can?”
    Mr Slattery indicated yes.
    “I’ll show a photograph of the 26th then,” said Det Garda Hickey, before connecting his iPad to the projector and displaying an image on screen.
    “What are we seeing there?” asked the coroner, Dr Brian Farrell.
    “The point I’m making, is that the can is not there on the 26th but it is there on the 27th,” said Det Garda Hickey.
    Dr Farrell then adjourned the inquest saying: ”I need to clarify this matter before we go any further.”
    Cllr Brady posted two blogs calling for a Garda investigation. He also called a special meeting of the Town Council for the 14th of March which he reported on as follows:
    The special meeting of Wicklow County Council which was called today to discuss evidence which has been heard at the inquest into the deaths of Bray Firemen Brian Murray and Mark O’Shaughnessy was a circus and the chairman was the clown.
    Censoring discussion and ignoring motions is undemocratic and is designed to protect the disgraced Wicklow County Manager. Thanks to the Chairperson, FF, FG and labour who didn’t bother even showing up.
    Following his calls for investigation he claims he was hand-delivered a notice by the Town Council that he, his wife and their 5 children were to be evicted from their council home for carrying out work on the house TEN YEARS AGO that the council at the time said they hadn’t funds to cover.
    We will be following this case with interest.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  6. #81
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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    The Jury has returned a narrative verdict that is an indictment of Wicklow County Council and which also questions Garda practices at the fire. The families have asked why there have been no consequences for those responsible.


    Strong criticism of Wicklow County Council was voiced tonight by the jury in the inquest into the 2007 deaths of two Bray fire fighters, Brian Murray (46) and Mark O’Shaughnessy (25).

    In a unanimous decision after considering the evidence for three hours, the four man, three woman jury returned narrative verdicts. This option, the coroner, Dr Brian Farrell, had explained to them, allowed them enumerate risk factors they held contributed to the circumstances relating to the men’s deaths.
    In the case of both men, the jury found that Wicklow County Council had failed to maintain “the vital communications systems in Bray and Greystones fire stations”. They found there was an absense of “specific instructions” relating to PDAs – Pre-Determined Attendences – as to how fire fighters should respond to a series of given situations.
    The jury found the Council, following the purchase of a new fire tender in 2007, had failed to follow up “with appropriate training for all fire fighting personnel” in the use of a Compressed Air Foam System (Cafs) which was on the new tender. In the case of the death of Mark O’Shaughnessy, the jury held specifically that he had received no Cafs training.
    The just noted the shortage of qualified drivers available to Bray fire service on the day of the fire, September 26th, 2007.
    The jury then made a series of recommendations and voiced critisism of Wickolow County Council. The jury forman said: “The absense of an internal investigation by Wicklow County Council into the tragic events of the day were of serious concern to the jury.”
    He said the jury recommended there was a review of the “theory and practice of the use of the Cafs system”; the absense of note taking by gardai examining the fire scene was “of concern to the jury”, he said; and there was also concern about “the lack of clarity regarding the handover of the scene from the Fire Service to the gardaí”.
    The jury also said that local authorities “should take action” when illegal dumping occured. The jury said it also wished to acknowledge “the improvements in the Fire Service in Wicklow” since the fire “and would encourage the constant nationwide review of this vital service”.
    The foreman then expressed, on behalf of the jury, their condolences to the families of the two fire fighters, and sympathised with colleagues who tried in vain to rescue them, and those who retrieved their bodies.
    The verdicts and recommendations came after 17 days of evidence.
    Dr Farrell said he would write to the fire services, local authorities and the Department of the Environment informing them of the recommendations. Then, in unusually emotional language, he addressed relatives in the court – Mr Murray’s widow, Mary Murray, and many of their 15 children; together with Mark O’Shaughnessy’s partner, Hazel O’Brien, his brother Eamonn, and best friend Keith Gordon.
    “Really, it is not easy to find the right words to express condolances at such a time,” he said. “I want you to know how much we all empathise with you in your grief. Brian and Mark were retained fire fighters and in those circumstances placed their safety and their lives at risk in the public interest. Brian and Mark have paid the ultimate price for their courage and devotion to duty and their altruism in relation to the whole community.”
    Family and friends of the two fire fighters smiled, hugged, shook hands and expressed satisfaction at the verdict. Ms O’Brien said the positions of Tadhg O’Shea and Joanne O’Connor, two senior assistant chief fire officers, who occupy the same posts as they did at the time of the fire, were “entirely untenable”.
    She continued: “We would like to ask the county manager Eddie Sheehy, the following questions: who does he believe had responsibility for the health and safety breaches experienced by Brian and Mark? Have those individuals ever been disciplined or removed from their roles?”
    In a statement, the council said it “acknowledges the verdict” and that it had put in place “enhanced operating procedures and processes” since the fire.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...dict-1.1790117
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    The Jury has returned a narrative verdict that is an indictment of Wicklow County Council and which also questions Garda practices at the fire. The families have asked why there have been no consequences for those responsible.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime...dict-1.1790117
    The Irish Times is reporting that when arrested, Wicklow's three "Chief Fire Officers" - one CFO and two Assistant Chief Fire Officers - refused to answer questions.

    The County Manager, Eddie Sheehan, also arrested, answered very few.

    The Coroner at the inquest last week expressed concern that there had been no internal enquiry in Wicklow County Council (which has a shocking history of fire deaths).

    All four are still in their jobs.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  8. #83
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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths - Senior Wicklow County Council Official Arrested

    Just quoting this from page one to show how dires the situation was in Bray/ County Wicklow. I don't know if this has been resolved yet ----

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Flower View Post
    MurphyforBray again -

    Oldcourt Estate in Bray is one of the worst examples of bad design and bad maintenance standards. There have been many needless deaths in this estate(200 meters from Bray Fire Station). These houses were originally build as a stopgap in the 1970s to ease a housing crisis. In the 1980s a refurbishment scheme began. The houses were timberframed with bitumen felt and aluminium outer. They had a Bitumen felt flat roof. When the refurbishment started the aluminium was removed(presumably for scrap value) and a block wall was built maintaining a cavity front and back and a pitched roof was put on top. The main problems in doing this are 1. Bitumen felt hanging in the wall cavities. 2. Bitumen felt on the attic floor.(some have converted to bedrooms and have just covered the felt with flooring. 3. In many cases the roof wasn't fully cut back to allow the walls to be built and the bitumen felt runs between houses. 4. The dividing walls were not completed in the attic space and in all cases light can be seen through from next door and in a lot of cases a person could climb from one attic space to another. Ther was a case of one house undergoing refurbishment following a fire when two plumbers were second fixing the house and one started a fire downstairs without realising it. The fire travelled through the cavity into the attic almost overcoming the second plumber in the attic while his mate was totally unaware. Firefighters regularly complained that when they were attending fires in this estate they would have smoke billowing from vents several houses away.

    All of these problems and more are on the public record since late 2007 when a report was published. In Feb 2006 the chief fire officer when summoned before Bray Town Council anwered a direct question about fire safety in oldcourt. He said " These houses are at least as safe as other houses in the town". This is also a matter of public record.(council meeting minutes). This highlights to me the dangers of the same body(local authority) being responsible for housing and fire-fighting. The minister for the environment (or lightbulbs) confirmed to Me in writing that it is not the role of DOE to police or regulate Local Authorities in fulfilling their obligations under the Fire Services Act 1981. The minister has confirmed that they are unregulated. The CFO's word is law. CFO's get bonuses on an annual basis for perfomance. This is assessed according to a number of criteria one of which is fiscal prudence. As this is the same person responsible for assessing fire cover needs surely this is a conflict of interest.

    Does it seem odd that a housing estate that has had a high number of fires of varying severity and cause that the chief was able to make the statement as quoted above, given the faults subsequently exposed by the 2007 report. I have no desire to draw anyone into discussions regarding unverifiable information. If anyone wants to see documents establishing anything I have said above please ask. I can arrange to send them privately as it's not appropriate to show here.

    Has anyone any opinion on why the DOE have requested stats to be calculated as follows

    Response times to be cal;culated as follows:

    Full time service Response time is from time of call being received from the public to first tender arriving at scene

    Retained response time is from activation of alerters to first tender arriving at scene

    Again document available
    There are 30 "Chief Fire Officers" in Ireland, all on top whack salaries, and god only knows how many "Assistant Chief Fire Officer."

    And they can't provide the necessary training and staffing to run a basic safe service.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    A tragic matter.

    I want to comment on the taking of contemporaneous notes and their importance.

    When a garda takes the stand under oath, he or she normally takes their notebook with them. There should be an application made before doing this, but there usually isn't as it boils down to being a formality. It is at this particular point that I and whoever I'm helping, usually ask to inspect the relevant content of the notebook (if we think it will be relevant to the defence).

    I've seen lots of garda notebooks... Lots. The vast majority of them contain little or no pertinent information. Two to three sentences is the usual. There are obviously exceptions to this but they're rare.

    In the last five or six years it has become the norm for the gardaí to hand over a precis (summary) of evidence at the very start of the prosecution, to attempt to stave off the defence seeking a Gary Doyle order (Copies of statements and all other evidence to be used by the state). The precis will normally contain less pertinent information than a garda notebook. It's normally only a repetition of the charge itself, with no reference to evidence whatsoever.

    Anyone who is familiar with the law will tell you how absolutely unreliable witness testimony can be. There's nothing nefarious in it. We are creatures that have evolved reasoning and deductive abilities that allow us to mine a lot of information out of a paucity of information. The problem for witnesses and indeed everyone else is to separate what has been deduced from what has been witnessed, without the need to infer or see dishonesty, or rather, before the need for such an approach needs to arise. And of course, this issue is magnified over the passage of time and it becomes nigh on impossible to separate fact from fantasy.

    Accurate contemporaneous note taking avoids this. In prosecutions it tends to focus arguments and dispense with opinions (let us not forget that a garda is not qualified to offer an opinion on anything!). In inquiries of this nature, it becomes an impossibility to reconstruct the facts without a solid base from which to do so. In fairness, in this particular instance, notetaking wasn't the only missing foundation from which the truth could have been fully established.

    I think, from a general perspective, the issue of taking accurate and enough contemporaneous notes, is not appreciated to the degree of importance it should be. From a department of justice perspective, it is difficult to know if this issue is even considered an issue...

    In this instance it may well be a substantive cause as to why justice will not be served and as to why some decent folks will forever feel like victims.

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Young Dublin guy caught a baby this morning, thrown out of a third floor window - Gloucester Place - where the family were trapped by a fire.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/irela...fire-1.2014185

    The buildings (if it is one of those in the background to the video) seem quite new. Hard to understand how a family could get trapped in the way they were on a third floor.
    If anyone knows the building I would be interested in an explanation.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

  11. #86
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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Nobody killed, but a fire in Newbridge, Kildare, yesterday, took out a row of 6 houses in very short time.

    There must be questions about how they were constructed from the point of view of fire separation.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2015/0331/691206-fire/
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Good post by Bock the Robber on Building Regulations on party walls lined with paper.

    http://bocktherobber.com/2015/04/mil...-irish-houses/
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Several people - women and children killed by a fire in an apartment in Crumlin used as a women's refuge.

    Serious questions need to be asked as to why they could not get out.

    https://www.thesun.ie/news/682488/du...-the-incident/
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    ^ in Clondalkin, and quoting the Sun is not a good look for a self-proclaimed Marxist (although on this occasion they were correct, and you misread their article, so the error is entirely yours).

    And I only mention the latter because you regularly interrogate other Marxists on this site.
    "If you go far enough to either extreme of the political spectrum, Communist or fascist, you'll find hard-eyed men with guns who believe that anybody who doesn't think as they do should be incarcerated or exterminated. " - Jim Garrison, Former DA, New Orleans.

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    Default Re: Bray Fire Deaths -Wicklow County Council Official Arrested -Ireland worst in Europe for Fire Deaths

    Quote Originally Posted by pluralist View Post
    ^ in Clondalkin, and quoting the Sun is not a good look for a self-proclaimed Marxist (although on this occasion they were correct, and you misread their article, so the error is entirely yours).

    And I only mention the latter because you regularly interrogate other Marxists on this site.
    One mother and her two small children died last night, another child (aged 4) died this afternoon and it seems his mother is dangerously ill.

    There are questions to ask as to how in a modern apartment designed to provide escape failed to do so.

    No doubt Marx would have got the place-name right.
    “ We cannot withdraw our cards from the game. Were we as silent and mute as stones, our very passivity would be an act. ”
    — Jean-Paul Sartre

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