Are changes coming down the track for Civil Defence in Ireland?

The Minister for Defence has announced eight regional consultation meetings on the future of Civil Defence.

Paul Kehoe, T.D. has requested that meetings will be held in each of the Major Emergency Management regions between October 24th to November 28th in Dublin, Westmeath, Mullingar, Monaghan, Donegal, Limerick, Cork, Mayo and in the Ministers home county of Wexford.
The Minister will attend two of the meetings; in Tallaght, South Dublin and in Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford.

The regional gatherings are for volunteers who will have an opportunity to express their views on the future of the Civil Defence organisation.

Report by Declan Keogh, in association with
All meetings will commence at 8pm and will be chaired by Civil Defence Branch, who regard this engagement with volunteers as a key element of the consultation process. The meetings will start with a short presentation from Civil Defence Branch followed by a short presentation from Volunteer Ireland. The floor will then be open for volunteers to make their observations and have their input.

Civil Defence Train Crash Exercise-72
(Training Photo: Les Kelly / Emergency Times)

In a statement, Minister Kehoe said “the consultation meetings give volunteers an excellent opportunity to have their input into Civil Defence policy. Civil Defence is a wonderful volunteer based organisation with the capability to support the Principal Response Agencies in a variety of emergency and non-emergency events and the Government is committed to its continued development in line with the 2015 White Paper on Defence”.

Civil Defence volunteers are encouraged to attend one of the regional consultation meetings.

There are approximately 3,500 trained volunteer members in Civil Defence across Ireland. The organisation supports the PRAs (An Garda Síochána, the Health Service Executive and Local Authorities), government departments and state agencies during national, regional and local emergency and non-emergency events. It was originally established by Government decision in 1951, as part of the national defence structure as the necessary civil response to potential hazards which might arise in a war situation against a backdrop of the threat of nuclear war.

Civil Defence Emergency Timers exercise
(File Photo of 2006 exercise. Photo Decaln Keogh / Emergency Times)

Over the years, Civil Defence has changed considerably and modernised in response to changing requirements. Much of Civil Defence’s activity in recent years has involved assisting at community, sporting and charity events and the its volunteers are active during severe weather and major incidents and events.

In 2002, the then Minister for Defence approved the establishment of the Civil Defence Board. The board was chaired by the Chairman of the Civil Defence, Mr. Joe Meagher. Following several changes over a number of years, the Civil Defence Board was abolished on 1st January 2013. There have also been changes to the Principal Officer level at its headquarters in Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

In October 2006, the new Civil Defence Headquarters was officially opened in Roscrea by the Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea T.D. who also launched the new-look Civil Defence uniform and PPE.

Civil Defence hq uniforms
(Defence Minister Willie O’ Dea launches new-look Civil Defence at opening in Roscrea in 2006. Photo Declan Keogh / Emergency Times)

In response to the Minister’s announcement of the regional meetings, the Civil Defence’ National Volunteer Representative Commander Fergal Conroy has written to each City & County Volunteer representative to encourage volunteers to attend a regional meeting. In a statement, Cmdr. Conroy said ‘I very much welcome this announcement from the Minister for Defence Paul Kehoe, T.D., who wherever possible acknowledges the great work and commitment of Civil Defence Volunteers. He (the Minister) has seen in recent years, the scale of bad weather and harsh winters at first hand and the role Civil Defence plays in our communities’.

Cmdr. Conroy, from Laois Civil Defence, said it is important that as many volunteers attend these meetings.

960 UK
(CDOA Conference in Roscommon. Photo: Declan Keogh)

Later next month, the Civil Defence Officers Association will hold their annual Training & Development Conference in Kerry, however it’s not yet known if submissions from some of the volunteers regional meetings will be known or discussed at the conference.
Regional Meetings venues and dates. Each meeting will commence at 8pm.


Regional Meeting Dates, Location and Hotel
Wednesday 24 October – Tallaght, Dublin in the Maldron Hotel, Tallaght
Tuesday 30 October  – Mullingar, Co. Westmeath in Bloomfield House, Mullingar
Monday 12 November – Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford in the Riverside Park Hotel
Wednesday 14 November – Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan in Treacys Hotel, Kingscourt Road
Thursday 15 November  – Donegal Town, Co. Donegal in the Mill Park Hotel
Monday 19 November  – Limerick City, Co. Limerick  in the South Court Hotel
Wednesday 21 November –  Macroom, Co. Cork in the Castle Hotel
Wednesday 28 November  – Claremorris, Co Mayo in the McWilliam Park Hotel

CD Vehicles
(Photo: James Doyle / Emergency Times)

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