The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs and the provision of fire station premises, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under the Fire Service Act, 1981. My Department supports fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding support for equipment and priority infrastructural projects.
In February 2016, my Department announced a five-year Fire Services Capital Programme with an allocation of €40 million, based on an 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. The five-year programme proposed the construction/refurbishment of twenty six fire stations. This included sixteen new builds and ten upgrade/refurbishment projects. Details of the programme are available on my Department's website at the following link:
In relation to Wicklow County Council's Fire Service, Balltinglass and Dunlavin Fire Stations were included in a further list of stations which would be considered in annual reviews during the five-year Programme. My Department is awaiting updated cost plans from the Council for the upgrading work to be undertaken at both of these Fire Stations. My Department will consider the proposals upon receipt and will continue working with the Council to progress these projects. In order to maximise the available Capital Programme funding, my Department re-assesses the status of projects in the capital programme on an annual basis, and some flexibility is normally available to advance projects that are ready and that offer best value-for-money taking account of the state of readiness of projects more generally.