Civil defence volunteers throughout County Tipperary are being prevented from undertaking road traffic management for festivals, funerals and other events.
Members of Tipperary County Council highlighted the issue and said the civil defence volunteers who willingily gave their time were disappointed by the move and communities were losing out.
Cllr. Pat English said the policy being imposed by Tipperary County Council regarding the restriction of the duties of civil defence volunteers was unnecessary.
Cllr. English said directing traffic had been part of their normal duties for years and to suddenly stop that practice because of health and safety was wrong.
He asked what was going to happen in Clonmel on St. Patrick’s Day without civil defence members providing traffic management support as the number of gardai that would normally be on duty would not be enough on its own.
“There will be five gardai on duty on St.Patrick’s Day, that will just not work” he said.
Cllr. Andy Moloney said the whole issue needs to be clarified . He wanted to know why it was still okay for civil defence members in Mayo to continue to perform road traffic management duties while civil defence members in Tipperary were prevented from doing so.
Cllr. Moloney said the relevant government minister involved said it was up to each local authority to decide on their policy on the matter.
Such a move, he said, had serious implications for the organisers of major events in communities all over Tipperary. He told the meeting of the one hundred civil defence volunteers who have participated in road traffic management duties in Cahir for the Cannonball Run in recent years . Those volunteers were trained and there was never an issue and none of them had ever been involved in an accident.
“This is a serious matter that needs to be addressed” insisted Cllr. Moloney.
Karl Cashin, Director of Services said civil defence members were still able to provide first aid assistance but they would not provide crowd control service. ”Support would be purely of a first aid nature” he said.
Cllr. English said there were hundreds of civil defence members throughout the county and there was never a case of a claim concerning crowd control and tra ffic management duties.
“Why are we taking volunteers away from what they want to do” asked Cllr. English.
“People are thinking of just giving up if their remit has changed to just providing first aid support” warned Cllr. English.