Civil Defence Bill 2023

27 January 2023


Publication of the Civil Defence Bill 2023

The new Civil Defence Bill 2023 and associated Explanatory Memorandum was on Wednesday, 25th January 2023, published on the Houses of the Oireachtas website.

The Bill can be found at the following link:

The Bill will now proceed through the normal legislative process. This is a significant milestone in the longstanding commitment to provide a more modern aggregated piece of governing legislation for Civil Defence.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Defence Míchael Martin T.D. welcomed the publication of the Bill. He stated that the implementation of a modern aggregated piece of legislation will provide Civil Defence with the necessary legislative basis to operate effectively and to continue to serve communities across the country.


Civil Defence (Cosaint Shibhialta) was established in 1951 by Government Decision. The proposed Civil Defence Bill 2023 will replace the current suite of legislation relating to Civil Defence, which comprises the Air Raid Precautions Acts 1939 to 1946 and the Civil Defence Act 2012, with a consolidated and updated Civil Defence Act.

Civil Defence is a statutory volunteer-based organisation. In central government terms, responsibility for the organisation falls under the aegis of the Department of Defence.

At a local level, Civil Defence is managed by Civil Defence Officers employed by each local authority.

There are approximately 2,700 Civil Defence volunteers.

The government’s continued commitment to the development of Civil Defence is confirmed in the 2015 White Paper on Defence, which includes a commitment to progress new civil defence legislation during the lifetime of the White Paper. The White Paper also states that the future of Civil Defence will continue to be developed around its central strategic objective of supporting the Principal Response Agencies in a variety of emergency and non-emergency situations.

A “Civil Defence – Towards 2030” policy document was published in 2020. The policy document sets out the 5 core Civil Defence roles and services into the future:

  • Emergency Response
  • Search and Rescue
  • Medical Response
  • Community Assistance
  • Radiation Monitoring Service


CD Bill 2023

CD Bill explanatory memo