Civil Defence Forum News – 24th July 2013

August 8, 2013

1. Opening Address

Forum Chairman, Bill Smith delivered an opening address to the inaugural meeting of the Civil Defence Forum. Mr Smith briefed members on how the Forum was established following the dissolution of the Civil Defence Board. Forum members were informed that the newly formed non-statutory consultative body will be as flexible as possible in its operations and will run initially for a term of two years following which the Department will review its structure and effectiveness. While the Forum will consult on strategic matters, issues of an operational nature may be directed to the Civil Defence Executive at Civil Defence Headquarters.

2. Overview of Civil Defence

As this was the inaugural meeting of the Forum Bill Smith delivered a presentation which briefed members on the origins of the Civil Defence organisation, the core disciplines of the organisation, how Civil Defence is organised at national level and local authority level and on the training delivered at the College which is in turn rolled out at local level. The presentation paid special tribute to the core of Volunteer members highlighting some of the more high profile activities of recent years.
3. Civil Defence Membership Ages

Assistant Principal, John O’Neill delivered a presentation to Forum members on the issue of Civil Defence Membership age limits. Forum members were provided with comparable membership entry and exit ages with similar organisations. An extensive debate followed and the Forum was asked to deliberate the issue and suggest a structure for the future – among the options mentioned were an ‘Exit Mechanism’ or a stipulated retirement age at the upper limit and the pros and cons of accepting new entrants in the 16-18 years age bracket. Particular emphasis was placed on the need for consistency throughout all local authority areas in the implementation of any new measures to be introduced.

4. Defence Green Paper

Department of Defence, Principal Officer, Robert Mooney delivered a Table-Top presentation on the Green Paper on Defence which was published within the past week. In order to assist in the formation of submissions to the new White Paper (due to be published in mid-2014) which will provide the framework for Ireland’s Defence policy (including Civil Defence) for the next ten years, the Minister for Defence has introduced the Green Paper on Defence with the objective to stimulate debate on the issues to be considered.
The current White Paper set out specific recommendations for change, re-organisation and investment throughout the Defence organisation. While in the main the issues covered relate to the European Security Agenda, page 17 of the Green Paper relates to the Civil Defence organisation. Over a third of all submissions received prior to publication of the White Paper in 2000 related to Civil Defence.
The Minister for Defence is anxious to take on board the ideas of stakeholders and in this regard submissions are encouraged from the Civil Defence Officer and Volunteer representatives. Submissions made on behalf of organisations should clearly state this fact. In order to allow for proper consideration of all correspondence, the deadline for receipt of submissions is 10th October, 2013.
Submissions should be made by e-mail to whitepaper@defence.ie or by post to:
White Paper on Defence
Planning & Organisation Branch
Department of Defence
Station Road
Newbridge
Co Kildare

Further information is available on the Department of Defence website – www.defence.ie

5. Date of Next Forum Meeting

The next Forum meeting is provisionally scheduled to take place on Wednesday 16th October 2013.