John Perry IND candidate
An independent candidate for Sligo, Leitrim, South Donegal and North Roscommon said he was committed to having Ballyshannon and Bundoran fire station prioritised for new station construction.
John Perry said: “This is issue that has been a long running one in South Donegal and successive Governments have failed the fire personnel and the communities of Bundoran and Ballyshannon in South Donegal for many years.
“It has always been the wishes of the elected local councillors, the local fire personnel in both towns and the local community and indeed the larger service catchment area, that Ballyshannon and Bundoran would retain and have two new two-bay stations developed.
“I strongly support that, because that is what has been there for decades and the fire ground that the stations cover impacts on South Donegal, North Leitrim, North Sligo and indeed West Fermanagh.”
The independent candidate pointed out that there has been a fire service in Ballyshannon since the late 1940s with the present Fire Station being constructed in 1952.
“It was one of the first stations established in County Donegal, while the Bundoran Fire Station was built in the early 1970’s, he said. “Donegal County Council in the early 2000s had a 15 station Fire Station Replacement Programme, with 12 new Fire Stations being constructed with Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Glencolmcille remaining to be completed.”
Mr Perry said there were two very dedicated fire crews in Ballyshannon and Bundoran.
“The two stations cover significant geographic areas and the reasons to retain both stations significantly outweigh any weak argument to develop a single three-bay / two-pump site to serve this locality. For such a development to take place would be an absolute downgrading of the current service and that is not going to be tolerated.”
Mr Perry described as a fiasco the engagement some years ago of an independent consultant to explore the options for the fire service in the two towns.
“The situation has not moved anywhere since that Consultant ORH Ltd in London made its findings,” he said. “What followed was a disaster as council management and the Chief Fire Officer, on foot of the report recommended the closure of Ballyshannon Fire Station and that was firmly and rightly rejected by the members of Donegal County Council.
“What ORH Ltd definitively stated was ‘Given the constraints and criteria applied to this review it is not possible to recommend one option over the other.’
“So why did the Chief Fire Officer disregard the options presented in the review including the option put forward in 7.4 of the Review Report – Two Stations and Two Pumps - one in each town that states ‘There are potential locations that would result in an improvement to first and second pump response times. Relocating the stations to the optimal locations (in both towns) would result in an improvement if crewed by current fire fighters, as well as in the future if crewed by nearby population.’
“It's clear that the Chief Fire Officer and Council Management disregarded the Consultants Report.
“Any new Government needs to look closely at what has been going on here in South Donegal, and get on with what is recommended and fund, design and build the two new fire stations in the towns of Ballyshannon and Bundoran. I will make this a Priority.”
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