The provision of fire services in local authority areas, including the establishment and maintenance of fire brigades, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of premises, is a statutory function of the individual fire authorities under the provisions of the Fire Services Acts, 1981 and 2003. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for priority infrastructural projects.
In February 2016, my Department announced a five-year Fire Services Capital Programme with an allocation of €40 million, based on the current annual €8 million allocation, to be used for the purchase of fire appliances and specialist equipment, building or upgrading of prioritised Fire Stations, an upgrade of the Communications and Mobilisation system and improvements to Training Centres.
With regard to Drumshanbo fire station, correspondence was initially sent to my Department in January 2016 outlining works required. This fire station project has been included under the five-year Fire Services Capital Programme and is listed as one of the stations to undergo remedial/upgrade works. In April 2017, the Council submitted drawings and a cost plan of the proposed extension to the fire station at a total cost of €110,000. Following the receipt and evaluation of this information, it was decided to approve Leitrim County Council to proceed to tender stage.
I understand that following this approval, the appropriate documentation was prepared for the appointment of consultants to design the new extension, obtain the necessary permissions (planning, fire safety certificate & disability access certificate), prepare construction tender documentation and supervise construction. In December 2017, these tender documents were forwarded to interested practices seeking tenders.
By the closing date of 18 January 2018, two valid tenders were received. Currently these tenders are being assessed by Leitrim County Council and it is hoped to formally appoint a designer for the project shortly. Based on the initial design brief, it is expected that a minimum of two months will be assigned to the design phase of this project and a further two months will be required for the tendering process. At this point, it is envisaged that construction work will commence, at the earliest, in August 2018 with an expected completion date of November 2018.
Upon receipt of a tender proposal, my Department will continue working with Leitrim County Council to progress this project. The projects in the capital programme are reassessed on an annual basis and priority may be adjusted to bring forward projects offering best value-for-money and to take account of the state of readiness of projects generally.