Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Regional, Rural, Gaeltacht & Island Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív is proposing that the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government establish a grant for people living in remote rural areas to buy high quality smoke alarms.

Under the proposal, people living more than 30 minutes away from a Fire Station would qualify for this grant.

“Response times in rural areas can be much longer than in the larger towns and cities, which leaves rural residents at a serious disadvantage.  We need to take preventative action in these areas to ensure that the risk of fire and particularly of death or injury to a fire is minimised”, explained Deputy Ó Cuív.

“Out of a population of 4.5 million people, around 80,000 people live in areas with a response time of 30 minutes or more.  This equates to approx. 30,000 homes which would qualify for a modest grant to install a high quality smoke detector.

“In most areas where the Fire Service response time is over 30 minutes, there is an increased threat of serious damage being caused to people and premises as a result of the time delay. I fully recognise that we cannot have a fire engine at every crossroads, but there is a need to ensure that an alternative approach is taken to this matter, to ensure that the risk in rural areas is reduced”.