Date Published : October 11th, 2014 Published By : adminFire Cover in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick was disrupted recently as up to five fire-fighters attached to the station were unable to attend call-outs due to illness, forcing Limerick City and County Council to close Abbeyfeale Fire Station on 26th September last, for approximately three weeks. The temporary closure order was made under the Health and Safety Act which requires that a minimum complement of crew members must be present to maintain operations at a Fire Station.
Eleven fire-fighters are attached to the station, and respond to an average of 90 call-outs per annum.
Josephine Cotter Coughlan, Director for Emergency Services at Limerick City and County Council said the council was satisfied sufficient fire cover was being provided. "The decision to close the station was in accordance with health and safety requirements, but we were satisfied that sufficient and appropriate fire cover was provided by the three neighbouring stations during the closure period. Thankfully, there were no call-outs during this period. We would like to thank the public for their patience and understanding during the past week."
While the fire station has since re-opened on Monday 6th October last, ahead of Fire Safety Week, operating on a shift basis made up of retained fire-fighters from other Limerick stations, the fire station was closed entirely initially, forcing emergency fire calls for Abbeyfeal’s area to be dealt with by Fire crews in Newcastle West, Co. Limerick and Listowel and Castleisland, Co. Kerry.
A Kerry County Councillor has expressed his frustration at what is being described as ‘yet another blow’ to emergency service cover in the North Kerry Area. The temporary closure at Abbeyfeale fire station comes at a time when the Listowel ambulance is also being requested to cover west Limerick. According to Ballyheigue County Councillor John Brassil, he fears ‘it will only be a matter of time now before the upheavals impact catastrophically’, and has asked ‘who is covering north Kerry when our service is being sent miles and miles away into neighbouring counties”
Limerick City and County Council’s Chief Fire Officer Michael Ryan insisted however that this is only a temporary measure and normal service will be resumed. “Retained fire-fighters from elsewhere throughout Limerick will operate on a shift basis at Abbeyfeale Fire Station allowing normal service to resume”
Following the temporary closure, the situation overall was reviewed on a daily basis and Mr. Ryan said he did not believe response times were too badly affected in the meantime. “Listowel and Newcastle West are located 16 and 21 kilometres from Abbeyfeale and therefore, the fire service is satisfied that all response times to emergency incidents will not be significantly impacted by this temporary situation”.
It is understood fire-fighters from the remaining six fire stations throughout Limerick; Newcastle West, Kilmallock, Rathkeale, Cappamore, Feyness and Limerick City at Mulgrave Street provided retained cover at Abbeyfeale on a shift basis.
The Chief Fire Officer added:” The Fire Service would like to thank these Brigades for their assistance and indeed, the retained firefighters whose cooperation has allowed us to reopen Abbeyfeale Fire Station from Monday last. I am particularly grateful to Kerry County Fire and Rescue Service for providing additional cover during this period," he said, adding that he is happy that 'sufficient and appropriate cover' will be provided to the people of Abbeyfeale.
(Map shows Station Areas)
Report By Declan Keogh 11/10/14
Main Photo by: FireIreland.com
Station Area Map by: Google and Emergency Times