Thursday, 16 December 2021
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
344. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the current status of the proposed new fire station in Dunleer, County Louth since €1.6 million was awarded for the design and site purchase; if he will provide details on the proposed site for the station as the local community are eager to learn the location; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [62870/21]
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.
In December 2020, I announced a new Fire Services Capital Programme for the period 2021-2025, with a funding allocation of €61m. 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.
Louth County Council has indicated that Dunleer is their number one fire station priority project, and a new fire station at Dunleer is provided for in this Capital Programme. The Council submitted a preliminary appraisal to my Department in January 2021. Following examination of the proposal, approval in principle for this project issued on 25 June 2021, along with approval for the Council to appoint a design team. I understand that a potential site has been identified by the Council, near the existing fire station site.
Louth County Council has submitted a detailed design brief and summary cost plan for the project, and these are currently being assessed by my Department. My Department will continue to work with Louth County Council to progress the Dunleer fire station project.