Galway county councillors have refused to give up their fight to ensure that the people of South Connemara receive their fair share and benefit from the basic life-saving service that an additional fire station in an area such as Carraroe could provide.
At last week’s meeting a motion put forward by Cllr Séan Ó Tuairisg and seconded by Cllr Seamus Walsh, which called on Galway County Council to seek funding from the Department and Government for a fire station in South Connemara, was unanimously passed.
Referring to a recent public meeting, Cllr Ó Tuairisg said that Fine Gael TD for Galway West Seán Kyne had been asked if an approach had been made to the Environment Minister about the provision of the fire station. “Deputy Kyne said he had but that the county council had not made a proposal for funding. I’m asking for an official request for funding to be made.
“There are other counties with smaller populations who have more coverage. We don’t seem to be getting the same type of funding for fire services. If a fire station was placed in Carraroe 81 per cent would be covered within 20 minutes. From the city station there is no coverage within 20 minutes outside of Spiddal. I think we have a higher risk.”
“Deputy Kyne can’t make any progress until that letter is sent,” said Cllr Seosamh Ó Cuaig, who said that at the public meeting the local councillors had been “accused of being school children and not supporting the fire station”. He then reminded the executive that there had been unanimous support for a motion proposed at a previous council meeting for the local authority to provide the fire station and for the Government to provide those funds.
At the October meeting of the council a report was presented which following an appraisal of the future provisions of fire services for the western environs found “there is not a conclusive case for an additional fire station”. However it did acknowledge that if funding and extra resources were made available a station in An Cheathrú Rua would be the preferred location. Councillors also heard how it could take an hour or more for fire brigade units from Galway city, or Clifden station, to respond to emergency call outs in some parts of Connemara.
Cllr Seamus Walsh acknowledged the frustration of the people of South Connemara who accused local representatives of inaction on the issue. “This is a basic life saving service that others in the country have. We have failed the people we are here to represent who have been fighting for it since 1994 and still no station,” he said.
Director of services for corporate, housing, and emergency services unit, Eugene Cummins told councillors a letter will be sent “in good faith” on the basis of what was presented, however, he added that the request “would be flawed until we can manage the risk that is there with the resources we have”. He denied that the report itself is flawed, adding that it was not about geography or population but how the risk is managed.
Cllr Tomás Ó Curraoin said “the letter should be short and sweet” adding that “It’s the policy of Galway County Council and we want the funding”.