Dáil Éireann - Volume 522 - 27 June, 2000
Written Answers. - Proposed Legislation.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
109. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources if he will introduce legislation, similar to that in other countries, which charge those who previously call rescue services or who call on the rescue services because they have gone to sea ill-prepared; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18527/00]
Mr. Fahey Mr. Fahey
Minister for the Marine and Natural Resources (Mr. Fahey): The Irish Coastguard of my Department is responsible for the initiation and co-ordination of all maritime SAR measures and operations within the internationally designated Irish search and rescue region. I have no plans at the moment to introduce penalties on boat owners and or users who are responsible for having the emergency services called out without good reason. Each request for assistance is treated seriously. I know that boats and ships can be dangerous workplaces and all boat and ship owners and users should realise that they are responsible for their own safety. I have, however, asked the Department to look into practice in other countries and to advice on the scope for introducing charges in the circumstances mentioned. We must bear in mind that air and sea rescue services in this country are provided through a mix of State and voluntary organisations and that our structures may not be comparable to those in other countries.
Regarding hoax calls, it is a matter for the director of telecommunications regulation to determine the nature of any investigation into hoax calls. Hoax calls are referred to the Director of Telecommunications Regulation and/or the Garda.
Regarding hoax calls, I am satisfied with the level of penalties under the Wireless and Telegraphy Act, 1988, for abusing the marine-band radio which is £1,000 and/or up to six months imprisonment. On conviction on indictment in a higher court, this fine can be as high as £20,000 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment. The penalty under the Postal and Telecommunications Services Acts, 1951 and 1983, for abusing the telephone 999 or 112 emergency system is £800 and/or up to 12 months imprisonment. On conviction on indictment in a higher court this figure can be as high as £50,000 and/or up to five years imprisonment.
Dáil Éireann 522 Written Answers. Proposed Legislation.