RATHDOWNEY Fire Station is currently waiting on approval to move past the design stage. Councillors at the recent Borris in Ossory electoral area meeting heard that approval was granted by the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to proceed to the design stage, but approval to move beyond this was not yet received.
Cllr Brendan Phelan said that he wanted to keep the issue to the fore.
“We are trying to keep Rathdowney Fire Station in the lights, it has been with the previous Government for a number of years. We’re hoping with pressure on the Minister, we can get a commitment. The surest way to keep a fire station is to build a new one. Rathdowney is in an ideal situation close to the motorway to serve both motorways”.
He said that if there was an accident on the motorway, there is no signage between Manor Stone and Portlaoise, adding that for fire brigades coming on the motorway, it would be quicker to travel to Manor Stone and turn around than open and close the emergency gates on the road itself.
Cllr John King said that the bigger issue was that the area could lose a fire station.
“We’re not being called as often, people are fearful of calling as they are afraid of the cost. it costs €135 for a chimney fire and house fire insurance will cover that cost. it costs €100,000 a year to run a fire station”, he said.
He also said that the emergency services are sometimes called out when there is no emergency.
“A couple of weeks ago the brigade was called to Errill as a woman rang 999 when her house was flooded,” he said. “She wouldn’t ring the local man to help as she didn’t like him. Eight firemen were called out on a Sunday night costing the council €600.”