SPEAKING in the Dáil this week, Offaly Deputy Brian Stanley called on the Minister for Enviroment to ensure that Offaly was provided with effective fire services across the county.
“I raised the issue of the closure of the fire stations in Daingean, Kilcormac, and Bannagher with Minister Phil Hogan and drew his attention to the fact that substantial tracts of land have been damaged in bogfires since the closure of these fire stations.
“While I accept that the provision of fire services is a function of fire authorties themselves, I would call upon the Minister to play a part in ensuring that every part of the county is served according to need. During the recent bog fires, roads were closed and a significant amount of environmental damage was done. In the case of one of the fires there was a serious delay in response. Local frontline emergency services such as this must be retained. The Minister’s response suggesting local services have not been curtailed or limited ignores the reality. When fire services are called out to a particular area, local knowledge is essential to a quick response.
“Lives are being put at risk and I urge the Minister to take up the issue.
I urge him and his officials to take another look at the situation, with Offaly County Council, to ensure there is a proper fire service throughout Offaly. Banagher is a long way from the centre of the county. Outying areas such as Kilcormac and Danigean cannot be left without a proper service either. I urge the Minister and his officials to examine the issue again and not to walk away lightly from it saying that five local fire stations are adequate for Offaly.”