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Impressive state-of-the-art Ferbane fire station officially opened

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Impressive state-of-the-art Ferbane fire station officially opened thumbnail

OFFALY'S Fire and Rescue Services received a major boost with the opening of the new state of the art fire station in Ferbane this week.
The new facility was completed at a cost of €1.1 million and is located at Ferbane's former railway station, which was up to recently the area office for Offaly County Council at Gallen. The former local authority offices have since been incorporated into the right hand side of the new fire station along with a substantial extension, to provide a new state-of-the-art home for the eight-crew station in Ferbane.
Ferbane Fire Station serves a population of over eight thousand people in West Offaly, over an area of almost 400 sq km. Responding also into counties Westmeath and Galway, the fire services responds to an average of 70 calls per annum.
The station accommodates one class B fire appliance, one water tanker and one WD jeep. The completed station also provides a dedicated training yard, training tower and classroom facilities to the Ferbane crew in addition to welfare facilities and office space.
On Monday last, the impressive building basked in glorious sunshine as Eoghan Murphy, TD, Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government was joined by members of Offaly Fire Services, past and present, public representatives and other officials and dignitaries to officially open the premises.
Eoin O'Ceilleachair, Chief Fire Officer with Offaly Fire & Rescue Service, welcomed everyone to the event before asking Minister Murphy to officially open the station. The Housing Minister said it was a "very special occasion for everyone in the local community", noting in particular its significance to the fire fighters and their families.
Aware of the attachment to the old fire station, located adjacent to the new station, Minister Murphy said it was great to "be able to build a facility of this scale and size" on a new site. "However, this new site brings its own history as a former train station and the former office for the local authority. It's a fantastic station if you get a chance to have a look around. There's a gym, training support facility, a debriefing room for everyone. All of these facilities are very necessary to have a modern fire service so they can operate safely."
Minister Murphy then thanked all the fire fighters. "You give a great sense of assurance to everyone in the community that you are there and we are safe everyday of the week. As fire fighters and first responders, your health, safety and welfare is very important to me as the Minister responsible. So, it's important you have access to the latest training and most modern equipment."
Continuing, the Minister said an application for a new fire station was being reviewed for Clara currently along with the expansion of the training centre in Tullamore.
“It's a privilege to be here today to recognise the work you have and to support you and to make sure that the investments are being made. You are going to be very safe with this new station, with the new modern equipment and training and the dedicated crew that is working here in the station well into the future," Minister Murphy concluded.
Cllr Liam Quinn, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council, also welcomed everyone and thanked the Minister for coming down to Ferbane for the event. "It's a very good news day for Offaly. I am very honoured to have been asked to come down here today to the official opening."
Complimenting the project, Cllr Quinn said the new station made for a "very welcome entrance" into the town and hoped it was something that would last for many years to come. "Over the last eight or nine years, we couldn't particularly deliver things like this and we were a little bit more constrained with regard to budgets and making ends meet. However, over the last number of years we have seen a levelling off in our finances and we are now moving into a phase where we are now in position to provide matching funding if the Department offers funding for projects like this. This is very important."
Cllr Quinn then paid tribute to the staff. "It's not just about dealing with fires. They deal with all the front line emergencies, fires, flooding, accidents and roles they play in delivering projects like the National Ploughing Championships and the Tullamore show and all the other things that we do here in Offaly where it is so important to have the first responders on site. We very much appreciate the work that you do there."
Concluding, the cathaoirleach said that everyone valued the work of the fire service and appreciated the "very tough job" that they do, often going unnoticed. "We hope this building will serve as a beacon in the part of Offaly for many years to come," he added.
Taking to the podium, Anna Marie Delaney, CEO of Offaly County Council explained Ferbane was one of five fire stations in Offaly with a crew of eight members. Outlining the excellent facilities in the new station, Ms Delaney acknowledged the commitment of the local representatives to the project.
“A number of years ago they had some very difficult decisions to make where they had to close a number of fire stations. They took the tough decision and I think it has really improved the efficiency of the fire service throughout the county. We are very cognitive of the response times of the fire service in the county and I would like to acknowledge the Offaly Fire service respond to 58% of all calls within 10 minutes. It has a very good national ranking performer indicators that are issued annually."
Wishing Fergal McGuire Station Officer, well, the CEO hoped the Ferbane fire service would be happy in their new safe working environment.
Mr O'Ceilleachair then thanked a number of people including Clive Dukes, the Assistant Chief Fire Officer for his dedication to the project and also wished Fergal and his team a very "safe and healthy future" in their new home.
Proceedings were concluded with an ecumenical blessing before a presentation was made to Minister Murphy of a piece of bog oak carved by one of the members of the Ferbane Fire Services and a copy of Rachael McKenna's book - "Flights of Fancy: Follies, Families and Demesnes".
Meanwhile, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy said the opening marked a "new era" for the Ferbane Fire service. "It was a great occasion for everyone involved in the development of this project and I would like to commend Offaly County Council for their hard work and commitment to ensure that this project was delivered for Ferbane."
"This hugely impressive state-of-the-art facility is a very welcome addition to the town and it greatly improves the streetscape on entering Ferbane. The new station is connected to the existing 'Old Railway Station' in a very sympathetic way, which has ensured the preservation of this Protected Structure. The purpose built station has the facilities necessary to support a modern fire service and I am delighted that I was in a position to prioritise the delivery of this €1 million project with the Government since my election to the Dáil in 2011. The project further demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensuring that we have adequate services here in rural Ireland."
Deputy Corcoran Kennedy stated: "The station will greatly assist the provision of this vital first responder emergency service to Ferbane and the wider community. The cutting edge modern equipment and dedicated crew at Ferbane, led by Station Officer, Fergal McGuire will help to keep our communities safe. The Fire Service is also called upon during weather emergencies like flooding, road traffic accidents and to assist with large public events across the county. It is hugely important to emphasise how much we appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of our local fire crews and I encourage people to consider a career in the Fire Service in the context of the current recruitment campaign."

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