Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill moved a debate in Seanad Éireann last night (Wednesday, 23 June) on the urgent need for new fire stations in Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Gleann Cholm Cille.
Speaking during the debate, Senator Ó Domhnaill said: “The previous Government gave a commitment to proceed with two Fire Stations on two agreed sites in Bundoran and Ballyshannon. Now the new Environment Minister Phil Hogan is talking about a review of this decision in what is a clear row back of the very clear commitment of the previous Government.
“The previous Fianna Fáil Government provided funding of approximately €11 million to Donegal County Council to replace 12 of the 15 fire stations in County Donegal over the last decade. The three remaining stations are Bundoran, Ballyshannon and Gleann Cholm Cille.
“The Gleann Cholm Cille Station must be replaced and a proposal for a new station on the existing site has been submitted to the Department by the Council.
“The nearest station to Gleann Cholm Cille is Killybegs, which is geographically too far away to give adequate emergency cover. I am calling on Minister Hogan to allow Donegal County Council to seek Planning Permission for a new station in Gleann Cholm Cille.
“The need for two separate stations in Bundoran and Ballyshannon has been well established and was supported by the previous Government and the local community. The new administration and Minister must now support that commitment. Both stations have a large catchment area and service areas with a substantially increased tourist population during the March – October Season and at weekend, year round.
“Minister Hogan’s response to this matter has been outrageous. He said: “Given the tight constraints on public finances any further support from my Department’s Fire Stations in Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Gleann Cholm Cille in the period ahead will have regard to the Councils priorities, the extent of previous investment, the Value for money offered by proposals, the spread of existing facilities and the totality of demands from fire authorities countrywide.
“The Minister has also confirmed that he will not provide funding for any of the three aforementioned Fire Stations in 2011 and would appear to be taking the view to punish Donegal and the three communities concerned because of previous investment in the area across the country.”