Wednesday, 13 January 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
363. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when funding for the new fire station at Urlingford, County Kilkenny, will be provided; and the timeline for its completion. [1724/21]
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 Services Acts, 1981 and 2003. My Department supports the fire authorities through setting general policy, providing a central training programme, issuing guidance on operational and other related matters and providing capital funding for equipment and priority infrastructural projects.
I recently announced a new Fire Services Capital Programme for the period 2021 - 2025. Following extensive engagement with fire authorities, a number of proposals for station works etc. were received. The proposals were evaluated and prioritised on the basis of the:
- Area Risk Categorisation of the fire station (population, fire risks, etc.)
- established Health and Safety needs
- state of development of the project (is site acquired, etc.?) and
- value for money offered by the proposal.
This new Programme will see six new fire stations built, continued support for the construction of a further 12 new fire stations, nine fire station refurbishments as well as the allocation of 35 new fire engines. In order to maximise the available Capital Programme funding, my Department re-assesses the status of projects in the 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.
A new fire station at Urlingford is provided for in this Capital Programme. Kilkenny County Council has indicated that Urlingford is their number one fire station priority. The Council submitted a capital review and outline cost plan to my Department in 2020 which are currently under review. I understand that the Council is to seek Part VIII planning approval in Q1 2021. My Department will continue to work with Kilkenny County Council to progress the Urlingford fire station project.