Laois has the best fire service in the country. That’s no idle boast, it’s official. The Laois firefighters will travel to France in September to represent Ireland and compete against their peers from across the world.
A team from the Laois County Fire and Rescue Service were recognised with a presentation of certificates to mark their success in the 2019 National RTC and Trauma Challenge.
The competition was held earlier in April and it’s the second year in succession that the Laois team has come home with the top honours.
And in a nice boost for the Laois fire and rescue team, Chairman, Cllr John King, himself a former fireman proposed that the Council should fund the fire service team’s trip to France to compete in the world championships, where they would represent Ireland in September.
This was unanimously approved by all councillors, who each in turn spoke of their admiration for the work and dedication of the Laois fire service.
The Laois team consists of James Brown, Jonathan Whelan, Paul Quail, Philip Kelly, Bosco Lawlor, Mark Dunne, Keith Lewis, Ed Gallagher, Eamon Mansworth, Padraic Keely, Shea Brennan and Anthony Tynan. There was also tributes paid to the Chief Fire Officer, Declan Power.
The Laois team finished top in the country in three categories winning the Best Overall Team, Best Incident Commander and Best Medic titles for the second year running.
Training for the national event took place over a number of months, voluntarily on the crew’s own time.
Cllr King pointed out that Laois was fortunate to have such a high standard of a fire service. It was a wonderful service and although regarded as part time the fire service was always on hand, fulltime, 24/7.
County Councillors were glowing in their admiration and commendation for the fire service speaking about their courtesy, commitment, care and bravery, very often in the face of shocking tragedies, and always on call and always required to remain calm in the face of such challenges.
Often the fire teams have to deal with serious injuries and loss of life, in all situations, seasons and weather. On some occasions they even put their own lives on the line, the Laois Council members acknowledged. The recognition they were receiving by the local authority is well deserved.
Whether it was fires, accidents or flooding the fire service was on hand in minutes to help and the members said that the winning of such national titles inspires public confidence in the level and standard of service at their disposal.
The Chief Executive of Laois County Council, Mr John Mulholland said that the county had an excellent retained fire service who had repeatedly proven themselves the best in the country on the national stage.
This is a magnificent achievement he said and it didn’t happen by accident as training is the key. He commended the role of the fire Chief, Declan Power.
“The public of Laois can rest assured that they have the best fire service in the country and that’s not an idle boast they have repeatedly proven it, said Mr Mulholland, noting that the fire service not only catered to the needs of the county’s 85,000 population, but the thousands that traverse through the county’s motorway networks on a daily basis.
Cllr Pauline Madigan offering her huge congratulations reminded everyone that it wasn’t just ‘firemen’ in the service these days, as Laois also had three fire women and she encouraged more women to get involved.
This point was borne out by Cllr Paddy Bracken who pointed out that a local woman, Miriam Creighton had just joined the fire service and was currently undertaking training. He thanked recently retired fireman, Dermot Healion for his 33 years of dedicated service in Mountmellick.
On the issue of women in the fire service, Cllr Brendan Phelan felt that the changing facilities and the ladies toilets at the Rathdowney fire station weren’t up to scratch and needed to be improved.