Wednesday, 22 April 2009
Dáil Eireann Debate
564. Deputy Brendan Howlin asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the criteria used by his Department to establish full-time or day manned fire services; if he is examining the fire service provision in view of the Bray fire disaster, County Wicklow; if Wexford Borough Council meets his Department’s criteria for a full-time or day manned service; if he is satisfied that the fire service provision is fit and adequate for the purpose; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15097/09]
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government (Deputy John Gormley): The provision of a fire service in its functional area, including the establishment and maintenance of a fire brigade, the assessment of fire cover needs, the provision of a premises and the making of such other provisions as it considers necessary or desirable, is a statutory function of individual fire authorities under section 10 of the Fire Services Act 1981. The Department’s role is one of supporting and assisting local authorities in delivering fire services through the setting of general policy and the provision of capital funding. The operation of the fire service in County Wexford is a matter for Wexford County Council.
A risk based approach to safety management is currently under development and a tender contract has been awarded for the national procurement of a risk based utility software through Dublin City Council acting as contracting authority. When this system is available it will assist fire authorities in carrying out a risk analysis in their functional areas which will, inter alia, inform the allocation of resources. This work is being developed through the CAMP (Computer Aided Mobilisation Project) structure.
Three investigations into the Bray fire tragedy are ongoing by An Garda Síochána, the Health and Safety Authority and Wicklow County Council. I will consider any necessary change arising from the outcome of these investigations in the work of supporting and developing fire services.
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