Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Ceisteanna (119, 120)

Emmet Stagg

Ceist:

203 Mr. Stagg asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if he has plans for the provision of trained fire-fighters on offshore islands, especially in view of the recent fire on Clare Island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3105/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Eamon Ryan

Ceist:

210 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs if emergency plans are in place for the islands in view of a recent fire incident. [3166/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 203 and 210 together.

Deputies will be aware that I have no statutory responsibility in relation to the provision of fire services. Deputies may wish to note the Fire Services Act 1981, section 9 of which states that the local authorities shall be the fire authorities for the purpose of the Act. Section 10 states that a fire authority shall establish and maintain a fire brigade, provide premises and make such other provision as it considers necessary or desirable for such a purpose.

Notwithstanding the statutory responsibility of local authorities and other public bodies, my Department continues to seek ways of promoting and maintaining living and working populations on the islands by helping to foster sustainable vibrant communities there. In this context, my Department has provided limited financial assistance for the provision of smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in island houses and I understand that this equipment was of invaluable assistance during the recent fire on Clare Island. In addition, my Department has received applications from Donegal and Galway County Councils for 50% of the cost of providing new fire tenders on Árainn Mhór and Inis Mór respectively. A decision on these applications will be made upon confirmation that the local authorities will receive the balance of funding from the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government.

Question No. 204 answered with QuestionNo. 136.