Belfast Telegraph

Vacant posts on Fire and Rescue Service's board advertised

Four vacant posts on the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service's board have been advertised.

SDLP Assembly member John Dallat lodged a complaint with the Commissioner for Public Appointments that the vacancies had not yet been filled.

He wants to ensure that governance of the service is representative of those it serves. The East Derry/Londonderry MLA said many other appointments across the wider public service had not been made after suspension of the assembly.

He added: "It will be interesting to see if this responsibility becomes one for direct rule ministers should they be appointed in the absence of a functioning assembly. Hopefully this will not happen.

"Public appointments are an important part of any democracy provided the appointees are broadly-based and representative of society, are chosen on merit and are not part of an elitist group that, in the past, sat on a multiplicity of public bodies representing no one but themselves."

Two of the non-executive posts will be for lay members, while one will be a district councillor and another a trade union representative.

It is understood the advertising had been planned for some time.

Mr Dallat added: "I would encourage people to seriously consider applying for these posts to ensure that representation on the Fire and Rescue Service is broadly-based, representative and has at its disposal the best people to lead it into the future. They have until Thursday 26th October to do so.

"When I first raised the issue of the outstanding vacancies, my questions were not answered by the Fire and Rescue Service.

"However, following a meeting with the Commissioner for Public Appointments I am hopeful that the process to fill the vacancies will now begin."

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