My Department provides operational grants to each local authority in relation to running costs for Civil Defence. My Department also pays a grant to the Irish Red Cross towards it's administration costs. In addition, for the past four years, my Department allocated funding to the Irish Red Cross for distribution to small businesses, sporting, community and voluntary organisations that were flooded during severe weather events but were unable to secure flood insurance. All grants are paid in line with public financial procedures.
Civil Defence training and operations are funded by a combination of annual operational grants from my Department and a contribution from the relevant local authority on a 70/30 basis. The annual operational grant from my Department covers 70% of the running costs of Civil Defence annually, with the local authority providing the remaining 30%. The total amount provided in annual operational grants to the local authorities in 2017 was €2,720,938.
A grant may also be provided to a local authority upon receipt and consideration of an application or request, towards the purchase of vehicles and/or equipment for use by Civil Defence personnel. In 2017, local authorities received €679,199 under this heading.
My Department regularly provides financial support to local authorities towards the cost of running training exercises, often in conjunction with the Primary Response Agencies. In 2017, six major Civil Defence regional exercises were run throughout the country and the Department of Defence provided a total of €70,845 in grants to the local authorities that hosted these exercises. My Department also runs a scheme to reimburse the cost of immunising Civil Defence volunteers against Hepatitis B and tetanus. A total of €7,336 was paid out under this heading in 2017.
The basis for grants towards Civil Defence is set out in the Civil Defence Act, 2012.
My Department made an annual grant payment of €900,000 to the Irish Red Cross in 2018. This included Ireland’s contribution of €130,000 to the International Committee of the Red Cross. This was an increase from €869,000 in 2017 and was agreed following receipt and examination of a detailed business case submitted by the Irish Red Cross. The annual grant is paid in quarterly instalments and each year my Department receives a report from the Society providing full details of how the previous year's grant was utilised and details of how it is to be used in the current year.
The basis for the annual grant payments that are made to the Irish Red Cross are set out in the Irish Red Cross Act, 1938.
The total funding provided to the Irish Red Cross for distribution under the flooding schemes for small businesses and other bodies was €4.032 million over a four-year period. The cost of each of the four schemes was as follows: Storm Desmond (Dec 2015/Jan 2016) - €3.1 million; Donegal (August, 2017) - €586,000; Laois (November 2017) - €3,000; and Storm Eleanor (January 2018) - €343,000.
These four schemes were launched following separate Government decisions on each occasion. In November 2018, the Government established a standing scheme to deal with any further similar flooding events. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will be responsible for the standing scheme.