A drill yard training tower at a county Laois fire station is causing upset to some local residents, who are comparing the tower to the Crossmaglen tower in Northern Ireland in its day.
By Declan Keogh
Mountrath fire station is undergoing a €130,000 upgrade and the 30-meter training tower is part of the upgrade.
This month’s meeting of Laois County Council heard calls from councillors seeking to have the tower relocated to another place on the site.
The fire station is on Shannon Street, close to Fr. O’Connor Crescent. The tower, which is located on the corner of the fire station, is 9 feet away from the nearest house.
Mountrath Fire Station and Training Tower: Tower pic via Leinster Express and Fire Station photo courtesy Fire-Ireland.com
Councillor James Kelly told the meeting: “It’s nine foot from the front door of two people’s houses and it doesn’t look well. People are comparing it to Crossmaglen in its day. We need the tower, but we need it moved” while Councillor John King said: “The people in the two maisonettes beside it said it’s like living beside a mountain. It’s quite unsightly. One of them said that it would make a great clothes-line but would be a bit high to hang clothes on.”
Laois County Council had carried out a public consultation exercise in 2018 before the tower was constructed and a proposal for its erection had been before councillors in 2019 for their approval.
Cllr Conor Bergin said: “If the county council could consult with the residents, it would be appreciated.”
Director of Services Simon Walton said he acknowledges the concerns and will look into it the matter. He informed the meeting that the council did carry out a consultation. He said: “There was a part 8 consultation in late 2018 and a subsequent approval by members in January 2019, to note that. I will have a look but there are underground services to it. Relocating may not be as simple as it might appear.”
Improvement works at Mountrath fire station was approved in 2019. This included a 4×4 garage beside the station and a 4-storey 30mtr training tower at a cost of €130,000 from the Capital fund, paid by the National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management NDFEM.