Leading article

Fire service apology welcome, but has taken too long

THE apology to the widow of Co Derry firefighter Joe McCloskey, who was killed on duty in 2003, is to be welcomed, though it has taken the Fire and Rescue Service far too long to make it.

Mr McCloskey died hours after falling through a roof into a blazing storeroom while tackling a blaze at the Gorteen House Hotel in Limavady.

Three separate investigations conducted since then have failed to apportion blame to any single person or act.

Mr McCloskey's wife Marie has fought a determined campaign to establish what happened, and we can feel sympathy for her branding as a "disgrace" the fact that it has taken so long for an apology - though not the full explanation she deserves - to be forthcoming.

It is to be hoped that the Fire and Rescue Service now fully understands that it owes a duty of care not only to its staff but to their families.

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