19. Deputy Peter Fitzpatrick asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of Defence Forces personnel deployments both nationally and in County Louth with reference to Storm Emma. (Question 20425/18 asked on 10 May 2018)

Minister of State at the Department of Defence (Deputy Paul Kehoe): In accordance with the Framework for Major Emergency Management, primary responsibility for responding to a severe weather event rests with the three designated Principal Response Agencies, namely the relevant Local Authority, An Garda Siochána, and the Health Service Executive. The Defence Forces provide the fullest possible assistance to the appropriate Lead Department in the event of a natural disaster or an emergency in its Aid to the Civil Authority and Aid to the Civil Power roles. Major Emergency Plans have been developed by local and regional authorities and these Plans identify the procedures for requesting assistance from the Defence Forces.

Such support was requested throughout the period of Storm Emma and I can confirm that the total number of Defence Forces personnel deployed in support of the Principal Response Agencies was 2,637 in response to 622 requests for support. The number of personnel deployed in County Louth was 13 in response to 3 requests for support. The support provided in County Louth involved transporting hospital staff in various locations in the Louth area, a patient transfer to Louth Hospital and the transport of bottled water in the Dundalk area. These supports involved the use of 6 Defence Forces vehicles.

All of the available resources of the Defence Forces were made available to support the Principal Response Agencies during this severe weather event and all requests were responded to positively. The overall extent of support was considerable with deployments in multiple locations around the country.

I wish to assure the Deputy that the full spectrum of Defence Forces personnel and equipment are available for deployment to support the Principal Response Agencies in response to any emergencies that may arise.