In a scathing attack on the proposal to close Ballyshannon Fire Station, Dail Deputy for South Donegal Sligo and Leitrim Marc Mac Sharry has labelled the proposal by officials within Donegal County Council as ‘Dangerous and Unsafe’

He said: “ The reported proposal by the Chief Fire Officer of Donegal County Council to close Ballyshannon Fire station and reducing coverage of the wider area to just one base is short sighted and illogical.  It is clear to see that be it penny pinching by Donegal Co Co on the back of inadequate resources from Central Government or the the blind judgement of a firm of consultants based in another jurisdiction this decision is a retrograde step and will undermine the ability of the South Donegal area to be adequately prepared for potential disaster.  Indeed, the proposed closure of Ballyshannon Fire Station has also cross border implications given that it is the only Fire station in the south which provides cover to the North at Beleek.”

“As things Stand, Ballyshannon Fire Station provides critical services from Finner, through Ballyshannon, to Cloghore, Belleek, Rosnowlagh, Cashelard and on towards Pettigo while Bundoran on the other side covers into Leitrim and Sligo.  If tragedy were to strike at either end of the catchment the other would be left exposed and in danger if this reckless and ill thought out proposal is allowed to proceed.

“In 2009, under the then Fianna Fail Government, even at the depths of the financial crash Donegal County Council sought and was provided with approval in principle for the FGGovernment that has rowed back from the 2009 position?”

“As a member of the Public Accounts Committee it has become clear to me that so called expert consultants will produce a report very much in line with the wishes of those commissioning the report with terms of reference provided often silent on verbal briefings given in advance as to the preferred outcome expected?  Experience has thought me that consultants are often used to provide cover and plausible deniability to decision makers seeking to deflect responsibility for unnecessary actions. Why were consultants ever required in the first place? This is a matter of basic common sense in assessing the clear benefits of providing for the large catchment of South Donegal and providing cover and support to Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo. The communities of Ballyshannon and Bundoran have been served by their local fire stations since 1952 and the late 1970’s respectively.”

“As a FF member of Dail Eireann for South Donegal together with my FF colleagues on Donegal County Council I will fight this proposal to ensure that the plan reverts to the original 2009 intention for two new stations approved in principle by FF in Government at that time.  The Community of South Donegal are entitled to no less than two new fire stations.”

Photo: Ballyshannon Fire Station at the rear of the Market Yard (Michael McHugh)

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