Deputy Peter Burke has confirmed that after a long period of negotiations, a new headquarters of Westmeath Civil Defence has been secured. Speaking on the announcement, Deputy Burke stated that this is a welcome and much needed and deserved announcement for Civil Defence Members:
“I can confirm that Westmeath County Council have acquired a new building in Lough Sheever Business Park to accommodate Westmeath Civil Defence. The Council will take possession of the building today (Monday).
“I am delighted that the members of our Civil Defence will now have more suitable and fitting accommodation and the process of securing improved facilities for members is now complete. Last year, I saw first-hand the former headquarters of the Civil Defence and met volunteers and officials, including Commanders Tony Martin and Joe Reilly. I was shocked at the conditions that the Civil Defence had been forced to operate in and committed to seek out a new home for the organisation. Following this, I secured a debate on the Dáil floor so that I could highlight and put on the Dáil record the hazardous and totally unsuitable conditions endured by our Civil Defence members, who work so hard on our behalf in emergency situations.
“I subsequently met with Minister Kehoe with a delegation from Westmeath Civil Defence in Leinster House where we secured a capital commitment from Government to be delivered over a five year period which enabled Westmeath County Council to finance this new building.
“The Minister agreed that the Department would step in to work with the County Council along with Councillors on Westmeath Local Authority. Cllr Andrew Duncan has been bringing this issue up within Westmeath County Council on a monthly basis to monitor progress from the Local Authority. I have kept in contact with the Minister, his key officials and local Fine Gael Councillors in the meantime to ensure that a solution was progressing and I am delighted to confirm today that that this process is complete.
“This is a very positive result for Mullingar and Westmeath I am delighted that our much valued Civil Defence members will have a base more suited to their needs and their critical work from now on. We have seen the conditions they have had to endure externally in the last year alone, with Storm Emma and Storm Ophelia two major weather events where Civil Defence were on the frontline ensuring the safety of Westmeath Citizens. I commend their hard work and dedication and continue to work on their behalf“