Dáil Éireann - Volume 403 - 12 December, 1990
Written Answers. - Search and Rescue Operations.
Mr. G. O'Sullivan Mr. G. O'Sullivan
26. Mr. G. O'Sullivan asked the Minister for the Marine if he will outline the up to date position regarding search and rescue operations off the coast.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
29. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for the Marine if the Government have made any decision regarding the purchase of aircraft for the purpose of air and sea rescue duty; if tenders have been invited for same from all the leading worldwide manufacturers; if he accepts that the most modern equipment is desired for such duty; the estimated cost of such aircraft; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson) John P. Wilson
Minister for the Marine (Mr. Wilson): I propose to take Questions Nos. 26 and 29 together.
The Government decided on 2 August 1990 to implement the main recommendations of the report of the review group on Air/Sea Rescue Services, including: (i) the establishment under a director directly answerable to the Minister for the Marine of a new division in the Department of the Marine to assume responsibility for maritime safety, shipwreck and sea and coastal pollution; (ii) the transfer from the Department of Tourism and Transport to the Department of the Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC), the Coast Radio Service, marine radio-engineers and marine radio surveyors and their incorporation in the new division; (iii) the appointment of a director of the new  division; (iv) the supply on contract of a medium range helicopter service to be located at Shannon and to be placed under the control of the new division; (v) the relocation of the Dauphin Helicopter service currently provided by the Air Corps at Shannon to Finner, County Donegal, on a 24-hour basis throughout the year once the contract helicopter service has been put in place at Shannon; and, (vi) the deployment of a second Dauphin-helicopter at Cork as soon as practicable, primarily for operation with LE Eithne but to be located at Cork when not embarked on the ship.
My Department invited tenders for the supply of a search and rescue helicopter service to be based at Shannon Airport. The closing date for the receipt of tenders was 23 October 1990. An interdepartmental group with outside consultant advice are currently examining the tenders. I hope to have their recommendation soon.
The establishment of the new division is primarily an integration and reorganisation of existng services. The co-ordination of local marine emergencies will be devolved to rescue sub-centres at the coast radio stations at Valentia and Malin Head coast radio station and at a new sub-centre to be established in Dublin. This new regional structure will enable more local knowledge to be brought to bear on emergencies, the integration of marine communications and co-ordination facilities and the devotion of much larger personnel resources to emergency response.
My Department has also identified the equipment and staffing requirements for the new structure and provision has been made in the 1991 Estimate for Marine for the necessary expenditure.
Dáil Éireann 403 Written Answers. Search and Rescue Operations.