In 2015, the Government published the White Paper on Defence which includes a chapter on Civil Defence. Civil Defence is a volunteer based organisation of approximately 3,500 volunteers who give generously of their time and expertise for their community and in support of the Principal Response Agencies.
The 2015 White Paper outlines that the Civil Defence Branch of my Department is responsible for the strategic management and development of Civil Defence at a national level. It provides grant aid, policy advice and training to support local Civil Defence units. The White Paper recognises the important role of Local Government in the management of Civil Defence. The Civil Defence Officer who is an employee of the Local Authority is responsible for the day-to-day management of Civil Defence in their Local Authority area.
I fully appreciate the excellent services provided by Civil Defence volunteers in both emergency situations, in support of the Principal Response Agencies, and in the community support role, throughout the country. A key role provided by Civil Defence is in the area of first aid and medical support.
In that context, my officials have been working to resolve the Pre-Hospital Emergency Care Council licensing issue. My officials have been and continue to engage with Local Authority management through the Environment, Climate Change and Emergency Planning sub committee of the City and County Managers Association and with senior management of the Pre Hospital Emergency Care Council.
I have asked my officials to continue to engage constructively to ensure there is no dilution in the level of care and first aid cover that Civil Defence volunteers provide beyond 30 July 2019.