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Army Green Goddesses can only do 35mph say firefighters.


ULSTER's clapped out fleet of Green Goddesses can only muster up top speeds of 35mph, say Ulster firefighters.

The army bangers - on standby to cover if firemen go on strike - can only match the speed of a busted Massey Ferguson.

And the Fire Brigade Union have rejected claims the military appliances can hit 50 mph in safety.

Northern Ireland Fire Brigade Union chairman, Jim Quinn said: "To say they can travel at 52mph is very ambitious indeed."

Officials claimed the machines reached 50mph during a speed test carried out on the M1 last week.

However, Mr Quinn said: "As far as we have been led to believe, they are only safe when they travel around 35mph."

He said the position of their water tanks meant they had to take corners at a considerably slower speed, otherwise they might topple over.

"That happened in the last strike in 1977 and two soldiers lost their lives as a result."

Fire union bosses will pull their members out on Wednesday if employers fail to offer them a substantial pay increase.

"We want to avoid strike action at all possible costs but the government and employers are preventing this," said Mr Quinn.

"If we do take action, our current strong fleet of 130 modern fire appliances and 2000 firefighters will be replaced by 32 ageing Green Goddesses and only 200 personnel.

"That is under a quarter of what is already on stand by at anytime to deal with incidents across Northern Ireland.

"The age of an average Green Goddesses is 50 years and they are not structurally sound.

"The modern appliances have equipment such as cutting gear, lights, supports, breathing apparatus and life saving equipment.

"Green Goddesses only have what we would call breaking and entering equipment - a few sledge hammers - and are in no shape or form to be able to deal with what we tackle every day."

Mr Quinn added that those manning the ageing machines have little experience.

"It takes four years to fully train up a firefighter. These people have only had a number of weeks' training.

"They are not geared to deal with the day and daily problems that we firefighters face," he added.
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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 10, 2002
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