Civil Defence Units in both Louth and Meath are to receive new four wheel drive vehicles with the capacity to respond to national emergencies and extreme weather events it was announced today.
Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, announced today that 16 Ford Ranger Crewcab Pickup Vehicles will be joining the Civil Defence fleet in the coming weeks and local Deputy Fergus O’Dowd has confirmed that Louth and Meath are among the units that will receive a jeep.
The purchase of the vehicles is part of a €500,000 allocation from the Dormant Accounts fund of the Department of Community and Rural Development.
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The vehicles, priced at over €31,000 each, will improve the four wheel capability of the Civil Defence fleet and further improve its ability to support the Principal Response Agencies.
During national adverse weather events such as Storm Ophelia in October 2017 and Storm Emma in March 2018, the Civil Defence fleet of four-wheel drive vehicles were fully deployed.
The vehicles were utilised in carrying out a variety of tasks, assisting local authorities, the HSE and the National Ambulance Service and An Garda Síochána.
In a number of incidents, Civil Defence volunteers were involved in assisting vulnerable people including elderly who found themselves snowed in.
They were also involved in transporting patients and carers, evacuating people from their homes and delivering meals.
The decision to award these vehicles to the Civil Defence Units came following a transparent allocation process, which looked at several criteria including the ratio of civil defence four wheel drive jeeps to the population of the county and the age profile of the four wheel jeeps currently within the Civil Defence unit in the county
Commenting on the decision, Deputy O’Dowd said: “These new vehicles will be an additional resource for those who give their time and work so hard in times of emergency such as severe weather events to keep people safe. Their provision is also an important acknowledgement of the work of volunteers and their ongoing commitment to Civil Defence.”