Tuesday, 26 November 2019

Ceisteanna (518)

Frank O'Rourke

Ceist:

518. Deputy Frank O'Rourke asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will include an application for a new fire station (details supplied) in the fire services capital expenditure programme for 2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [49015/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

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 or refurbishment of twenty six fire stations. This included sixteen new builds and ten upgrade or refurbishment projects.

The Fire Services Capital Programme forms an important part of my Department’s strategy to support fire authorities in the development and maintenance of a quality fire-fighting and rescue service. The prioritisation and effective management of these resources is, in the first instance, a matter for each of the fire authorities based on their assessment of local needs and requirements. My Department works closely with fire services around the country to progress priority projects.

In order to maximise the Capital Programme funding available, my Department re-assesses the status of projects in the capital programme on an annual basis and priority can be adjusted to bring forward more advanced projects offering best value-for-money taking account of the state of readiness of projects in the programme more generally.

While a fire station project for Maynooth is not included in the five year programme referred to above, Kildare County Council wrote to my Department in 2017 requesting that a station in Maynooth be considered in any future capital programmes. I understand that the Council was in the process of identifying a suitable site at that time.

All requests for funding from my Department’s Fire Services Capital Programme are considered in the context of the available resources, local authorities’ priorities, the value for money offered by proposals and the totality of requests from fire authorities. My Department will liaise further with Kildare County Council regarding this project.