Wednesday, 4 October 2006
Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government
Question 333: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government when he expects fire fighting services, permanent and part-time, to be fully equipped with the most modern technology in terms of breathing apparatus, sufficient to meet requirements emanating from major accidents or terrorist attacks; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31231/06]
The provision of a fire service, including equipment such as breathing apparatus, is a statutory function of the individual fire authorities and my Department has no direct role in this matter. My Department supports the local fire authorities through the setting of general policy, the provision of capital funding, the issue of guidance to fire authorities in relation to fire prevention and operational matters, and other such initiatives.
Over the past 25 years, almost €240 million has been provided to local fire authorities under the fire services capital programme for the provision of new and refurbished fire stations and the purchase of fire appliances and other equipment, including breathing apparatus. In the current year almost €20 million has been allocated to the Fire Services capital programme. This allocation will be used to further modernise and update the resources available to the fire authorities.
In addition, since 2001, my Department has provided almost €4.2 billion in general purpose grants to assist the local authorities in carrying out their statutory functions, including the provision of fire services.