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.
In relation to Leitrim County Council's Fire Service, Ballinamore and Drumshanbo Fire Stations were included in the list of stations proposed for upgrade/refurbishment. In September 2018, my Department approved a request for funding for the refurbishment of Ballinamore Fire Station at a cost of €452,678. In February 2019, my Department also gave approval of €154,593 for works at Drumshanbo Fire Station.
A new fire station at Manorhamilton is also provided for in the Capital Programme with an indicative commencement date of 2019. In June 2019, Leitrim County Council submitted a design brief and invitation to tender documents for the design of the proposed fire station. Following the evaluation of this information, my Department issued approval to the Council on 29 June to proceed to tender stage for the provision of design services. The Council has published an invitation to tender for these services, with a closing date of 16 August. Following this, the tenders will be assessed by the Council, with a view to appointing a design team for the project.
My Department will consider the construction tender proposal upon receipt and will continue working with Leitrim County Council to progress this project. Taking into account the overall tendering process required, including for the construction of the fire station, it is estimated that construction work could commence by mid-year in 2020 at the earliest. In order to maximise the Capital Programme funding available my Department reassesses the status of projects in the capital programme on an annual basis and priority can be adjusted to bring forward well advanced projects offering best value-for-money taking account of the state of readiness of projects generally.