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Calls for two Laois fire stations to be included in government improvement plan

Brian Stanley Fire Station

Local Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley has called on the government to include two Laois fire stations in government improvement plan.

The Laois TD says that Rathdowney and Stradbally are badly in need of capital funding.

However, when he questioned Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien in the Dail recently, he was informed that neither are included in the latest five year programme.

He said: “New fire stations for Rathdowney and Stradbally are badly needed and need to be included for capital funding.

“The Government’s Capital Programme included €61M for 6 new fire stations and upgrade works on 21 others.

“However, in reply to my Dáil question to Minister Darragh O’Brien, he has confirmed to me that neither Rathdowney or Stradbally are included in for funding in the 5-year programme.

“The need for a new Rathdowney fire station has been raised for years. The current building is too small for the new fire tender that has been provided for the area and changing facilities are inadequate.

“Stradbally is also in need of a new station as the current building is outdated and in a similar condition.

Laois County Council has now advertised the “part 8’’ for planning permission for the new building, however, a new building cannot be provided without funding.

Deputy Stanley said: “Suitable sites have been secured in Rathdowney and Stradbally to locate the new station on. So Laois County Council have done all the necessary preparation to work.

“The fire service is important in both of these town as they service large catchment areas.

“Stradbally fire service covers an area that extends into Athy and Graiguecullen in Carlow. In the case of Rathdowney it takes in an area down to the Tipperary/ Offaly border.

“The importance of each of the brigades they require cannot be overstated given the important roll they have in attending fires, but also accidents and acting as first responders.’’

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.