Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005
Written Answers - Marine Safety.
Mr. Hogan Mr. Hogan
143. Mr. Hogan asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources the number of prosecutions that have been taken on foot of hoax calls to the Irish Coastguard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3670/05]
Mr. Gallagher Mr. Gallagher
Mr. Gallagher: The prosecution of hoax calls received by the Irish Coastguard is a matter for the Commissioners for Communications Regulation, ComReg, and the Garda Síochána. The Coastguard co-operates closely with Eircom emergency services, ComReg and the Garda Síochána in efforts to identify hoax callers and prosecute where possible. The Coastguard is aware of two cases where callers were identified and information passed to the Garda Síochána led to prosecutions.
Hoax calls are received by the Coastguard both on the 999/112 emergency telephone system and on the marine radio communications network. Analysis of calls since 2000 indicates a gradual decline in the numbers received:
Coastguard rescue co-ordination centres must treat every emergency call as real until it can be positively identified as hoax. In some instances these hoax calls result in the launching of search and rescue assets such as coastal search teams, cliff rescue units, lifeboats and helicopters. During hours of darkness and in bad weather conditions the lives of search and rescue personnel can be at risk. The Coastguard uses internal procedures to eliminate the hoax calls at an early stage. Some are blatantly nuisance calls but do take up the search and rescue co-ordinator’s time and occupy emergency 999/112 high priority telephone lines.
Dáil Éireann 597 Written Answers Marine Safety.