Households and businesses in County Roscommon owe over €110,000 in unpaid fire services charges, Roscommon People can reveal.
There was widespread opposition to the introduction of domestic fire call-out charges in the majority of counties in 2012.
Currently, Roscommon County Council charge €250 for a call-out to a chimney fire, while calls for all other fires carry a minimum charge of €500.
However, information released by the council, under the Freedom of Information Act, revealed that there has been a significant level of non-payment of these charges in recent years.
In 2012, €227,818 worth of invoices were issued for fire call-out charges in the county, €76,144 of which were unpaid at the end of the year.
In 2013, invoices amounting to €255,044 were issued, almost half of which – €112,758 – were unpaid at the end of the year.
The council added: “At the end of December 2014, the total amount of fire services charges owed to Roscommon County Council amount to €110,296.”
Meanwhile, while there are serious issues regarding ambulance delays in Co. Roscommon, it appears there are no such problems with the fire services.
The council’s target response times for all fire-fighters is seven minutes, from the time of alert to the time of being at the scene of incident.
So far in 2015, the stations in Roscommon town, Castlerea, Ballaghaderreen, Elphin and Strokestown have exceeded this target.
The unit in Boyle, however, marginally failed to reached this goal, achieving an average response time of 7.46 minutes.
These response times have been achieved despite a big reduction in funding for running the fire services in Co. Roscommon over the past five years.
The budget allocation has decreased by almost 18 per cent, from €3,052,000 in 2010 to €2,517,600 in 2015.