Former Antrim firefighter suspended from top job

THE head of the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service has been placed on precautionary suspension ‘with immediate effect’.

Former Greystone Primary pupil Gary Thompson started his career as a firefighter in Antrim - but he was soon climbing the career ladder.

He was appointed Chief Fire and Rescue Officer in 2016.

Back in October he was named Director of the Year for Inclusivity at the annual Directors’ Director of the Year Awards in London, where the local man was singled out for his ‘extraordinary leadership’.

Within weeks, however, he was suspended.

In a statement, a Service spokesperson stressed that the move is a ‘neutral action in line with NIFRS policies and procedures’.

They added that they were ‘not in a position to make any further comment at this time’.

“The NIFRS board, in conjunction with the Department of Health, will now consider and put in place interim arrangements to ensure the continued delivery of our service to the public,” the statement said.

Back in November the BBC’s investigative Spotlight programme alleged that Mr Thompson had been involved in a failed property investment scheme which fire fighters had reportedly been encouraged to invest in.

The Fire and Rescue Service has not said whether the suspension is connected to those claims.

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