Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Sub-Aqua Club Services.


asked the Minister for the Environment if he will arrange for the State to indemnify members of civilian sub-aqua clubs whose services are requisitioned by the Garda Síochána.

Arrangements relating to members of sub-aqua clubs whose services are requisitioned by the Garda would be a matter for the Minister for Justice. However, the Deputy may have in mind the position of private persons who give assistance on a voluntary basis when searches are being made for the recovery of bodies of victims of drowning accidents. The Irish Water Safety Association has had this matter under consideration and I understand that a report may be submitted to me in the near future. While I have no specific function in the matter, I will be prepared to consider the report in consultation with the Minister for Justice.

Arising out of the Minister's reply and, in view of the fact that the funding of the Irish Water Safety Association comes under the jurisdiction of the Minister for the Environment, would the Minister take a greater interest in this than he seemed to display in the reply he has given to the House? Could I also ask if he would arrange for an early decision to be made in this matter as it has been under consideration for some years past? I am sure the Minister and the House will agree that persons who give their time voluntarily, risking their lives as often happens for the sake of their fellow men, should not be at risk financially or that their families should not suffer in the event of them losing their lives in the search for a body? Would the Minister please ensure that this request is urgently considered on behalf of sub-aqua members and that a favourable decision is given at an early date?

I assure the Deputy and the House that I will give urgent consideration to that report.

That has been the standard reply for the past number of years. I am trying to get it through to the Minister that there is now an urgency about this matter. I had hoped he would make a decision soon.

Other Ministers may have given a similar reply but I can assure the Deputy that, as far as it is within my competence, it is the last time this question will be down.