The new domestic fire charge will come into effect on 1 January.

New charge for domestic fires

People in Cork county who call the fire brigade to a domestic fire will soon be charged for the service up to a maximum of €1,500.

The new charge was announced as part of Cork County Budget 2021 and will take effect from 1 January of next year.

Previously there was no charge in place for fire services, with Cork county being one of the few remaining local authorities in the country not to impose a charge.

A County Council spokesperson said: “Cork County Council’s Budget 2021, which was unanimously passed by elected members, includes the introduction of a fire service attendance charge for private domestic properties, capped at a maximum of €1,500. The introduction of this charge will form part of an additional funding stream to enable Cork County Council sustain service delivery at 2020 levels, while also supporting new projects to support the local economy.”

Responding to the new charge, Independent Cllr Marcia D’Alton called the charge “unfair” and poorly timed. She said: “I think that it is unfair that people would be charged for a basic service when they dial 999. I understand that there are costs involved, and I understand that other local authorities impose charges.

“I have particular concerns that this relates to domestic fire charges. Most other local authorities have a fixed fee for that, which is low. I think that this is impacting upon people at the wrong time.”

In response, Cork County Council Head of Finance Lorraine Lynch highlighted that Cork county was one of a few that don’t currently pay a charge, and that most charges would be covered by an insurance policy.

The Cork County Council Budget 2021 was passed unanimously on Monday with the decision to impose the new domestic fire charge in place and unchanged.