An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, T.D, pays tribute to the significant contribution of Civil Defence to the national response to COVID-19.

April 20, 2020

Today at Dublin Civil Defence Headquarters, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, T.D, and Minister with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe T.D, paid tribute to the significant contribution of Civil Defence and its volunteers to the national response to COVID-19.

Nationally Civil Defence has over 3,500 volunteer members who are trained in a variety of disciplines including first aid and emergency medical services, search and rescue and communications. These skills are provided on a voluntary basis to support the Principal Response Agencies in both emergency and non-emergency events.

The volunteers are supported by a fleet of c. 500 Civil Defence vehicles, some of which were on display at Dublin Civil Defence Headquarters today.

Since the onset of COVID-19 in mid-March Civil Defence volunteers have been involved in over 635 separate taskings throughout the country providing over 5,899 volunteer hours in support of the HSE, Local Authorities and An Garda Síochána.

The Taoiseach and Minister Kehoe met with the Chief Executive of Dublin City Council, Mr. Owen Keegan, the Chief Fire Officer in Dublin, Mr. Dennis Keeley, Mr. Brian Sweeney, Chair of the Civil Defence Officers Association and the Dublin Civil Defence Officer Mr. James McConnell.

He also met with Ms Verona Fitzpatrick the Deputy National Volunteer representative and a number of volunteers from Dublin, Kildare and Meath.

An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said:

“It was privilege to visit the headquarters of Dublin Civil Defence and meet some of the volunteers. The Civil Defence is an amazing resource, it exists in every county across the country. So far during the emergency is has provided more than 5,000 volunteer hours, helping us out with the national effort; doing everything from providing transport, to meals on wheels, to helping samples get to labs.

“It really is at times like this that we understand the value of volunteerism and the value of organisations like the Civil Defence. Both their volunteering ethos and also the enormous repository of skills which they have, which have been available to the State and society for the last few weeks. Today I had the opportunity to express my personal thanks to the Civil Defence and I know that they will be available for whatever task is needed in the weeks ahead.”

The many and varied tasks that Civil Defence Units around the country have participated in, include transporting dialysis and cancer patients from hospitals to their homes, collection of medications and delivering to patients homes, transporting COVID-19 test samples daily to Laboratories, distribution of food parcels to vulnerable persons as well as providing administrative assistance to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service at Blood donation clinics countrywide.

Commenting on the broad range of work already undertaken by Civil Defence during this crisis, Minister Kehoe outlined that “Civil Defence has an outstanding record of service to local communities and to our nation when called upon in times of emergency. It provides a unique resource to the State drawing on a nationwide grouping of trained volunteers to support the Principal Response Agencies as well as local communities”.

ENDS

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Press and Information Office

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An Roinn Cosanta

Department of Defence