Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Defence Alan Shatter to bring much needed clarity to the confusion which the Civil Defence says it now finds itself in. Referring to the advice circulated by the Department in two conflicting directives concerning the use of the blue flashing lights on Civil Defence vehicles, Deputy McGrath said this is an intolerable situation for the good men and women who serve the needs of local communities up and down the country.
Deputy McGrath noted that on one circular the Civil Defence were required to assist at all major events and accidents and emergencies, while another circular ordered them to desist in the use of their blue flashing lights while doing so. This however is in breach of the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 2011 which states that flashing lights must be used by all those attending to emergencies and major incidents on the State’s Motorways/National Roads
Deputy McGrath noted the invaluable work that the Civil Defence play whenever a community is in need, as can be seen most recently when high levels of snow brought the country to a standstill last year. “Only for the dedicated and committed professionalism of the members of the Civil Defence, many in our communities would have found themselves isolated and alone during what was a particularly harsh period, especially the elderly”.
Deputy McGrath said it was simply unacceptable that an organisation dedicated to the service of the community should be left in such a conflicted state because of the uncertainty emanating from the Department of Defence directives. He called for the situation to be resolved as an matter of urgency.