LODDs Lead to Criminal Fines for County in Ireland

The deaths of two firefighters in Ireland in 2007, has led to a guilty plea and the imposition of fines of €350,000 plus costs of €96,000 against the Wicklow County Council.

County Manager Eddie Sheehy and three ranking fire officials had been arrested and charged criminally in connection with the line of duty deaths of FFs Mark O’Shaughnessy and Brian Murray. The pair died on September 26th, 2007 at a structure fire.

Last June after six years of waiting and eight days of trial (according to The Irish Times) “the council finally acknowledged much of what the firefighters had been saying – it was indeed guilty of multiple failures under health and safety at work legislation.” The law in question was the Health, Safety and Welfare at Work Act of 2005. Here is a copy. HealthSafety2005

The sentence was handed down last Friday by the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin. Here is an excellent article explaining the entire proceeding.

Incidentally, do any of these allegations sound at all familiar:

Failure to provide firefighters with:

  • proper training
  • adequate staffing and back-up
  • adequate command and control
  • adequate communication systems during emergencies
  • clear rules of engagement for fighting a blaze
  • adequate systems for dealing with emergencies
  • risks management to ensure the wellbeing of its fire fighters.

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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