Hopes of Castlerea Fire Station being reopened were dealt a significant blow at Monday’s monthly meeting of Roscommon County Council when the local authority’s executive dismissed calls to carry out a review of the service.
Fianna Fáil councillor Paschal Fitzmaurice, however, told the meeting that he would not give up on his efforts to have the local fire service reinstated.
The Council executive referred to a report carried out in 2020 which stated that Castlerea had an “efficient and effective fire service” following the closure of the station in 2017.
Addressing Monday’s meeting, outgoing Chief Executive Eugene Cummins warned members that a new review could result in the closure of other fire stations in the county.
Cllr. Fitzmaurice expressed his disappointment with the Council’s response and said there had been a number of incidents in Castlerea over the years where serious fires were only prevented by the quick actions of local people.
Cllr. Fitzmaurice said Castlerea was a growing town with growing industry and that a lot of people in the town were still affected by a serious fire which claimed the life of one person in 1970.
He said he didn’t accept that response times from fire stations in surrounding areas were appropriate and suggested that full-time firefighters was a possible solution to ongoing staffing issues.
“When it comes to fire it’s so important to have that service. Statistics are no good and I think it’s totally inadequate for us to be expecting a fire service to travel from Ballaghaderreen, Ballyhaunis or Elphin or Roscommon,” he said.
Incoming Chief Executive Shane Tiernan said the local authority’s decision was based on “facts and figures and the fact remains that Castlerea has an adequate and appropriate fire service”.
He said the required response time at national level was 30 minutes and Roscommon had “set the bar higher” at 20 minutes.
Cllr. Nigel Dineen called response times into question, while Cllr. Fitzmaurice said Castlerea was the only town of its size in Roscommon without a fire service.
Citing incidences of fire in the town in recent years, Cllr. Fitzmaurice asked: “If everything is so perfect why would people have to come out (and tackle fires) with fire extinguishers?”
Shane Tiernan, however, cited a reduction in the number of call-outs in the Castlerea area in recent years and said the local authority was meeting its standards.