THE bravery and commitment of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) will be commemorated by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council at a forthcoming plaque dedication ceremony.
At their monthly meeting in Ballymena, councillors agreed to honour the valour and steadfastness of the organisation with the unveiling of the plaque adjacent to the War Memorial in Marine Gardens in Carrickfergus at a service which will be attended by Members of the Council and representatives from NIFRS.
Speaking ahead of the event, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Peter Johnston, said: “Across Northern Ireland, the Fire & Rescue Service provides an unwavering and invaluable benefit to us all.
“Their tireless bravery and commitment are beyond compare, and I am proud to be able to show our gratitude and respect to them with this new plaque. The role of a Fire Fighter is never an easy one as they deal with some of the most harrowing and high-pressure situations life can throw at us.
“This has been exacerbated in recent months as they have had to cope with the additional stresses and strains resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic. Despite stretched resources, reductions in personnel and increased risks to their health, the individuals who serve in the Fire & Rescue Service have remained as resilient and determined as ever, and we are indebted to them.
“Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is eternally grateful to Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service, and we are delighted to show our appreciation to the organisation.
The plaque installation by the Council was proposed by Councillor Marc Collins and seconded by Councillor John McDermott at the Council’s monthly meeting in October.
Welcoming the move, Councillor Collins said: “I am delighted that as a Council and a community we can honour the work of the men and women of Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service.
“Their unwavering commitment to serving the public is often the difference between life and death, and this plaque is a visible reminder of our gratitude to all involved in this service.
“My thanks are also extended to David Hilditch MLA who has been hugely supportive of this endeavour throughout and has helped make it possible.”
Councillor McDermott added: “I am honoured to support this incredibly important emergency service, and it gives me great pride to be able to ensure the Council’s appreciation for it is recognised and shared.”
Welcoming the honour, Brian Stanfield, Northern Area Commander, NIFRS, said: “Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service is honoured to be recognised by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council with this plaque and service. NIFRS is dedicated to serving local communities, and this recognition is deeply appreciated and welcomed by us all.
“At the heart of our work is the establishment and development of excellent working relationships with community groups and local authorities in helping us spread the word about the importance of fire safety and emergency prevention.
“We thank Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, its Chief Executive, Councillors and Officer for their continued support throughout the years and look forward to continuing this relationship for many more years to come.”
In 2006, NIFRS became Honorary Freemen of the Borough when the former Carrickfergus Borough Council bestowed the honour upon the organisation.