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Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe T.D. provides update on activities of the Defence Forces

The Defence Forces have deployed 185 Army personnel and 65 vehicles, mostly 4x4 but also specialist snowplough and logistics vehicles, in a range of tasks to support the primary response agencies and local authorities in the past 36 hours.

There are currently close to 100 Defence Forces personnel and 30 vehicles deployed in Kilkenny, Wexford, Waterford, Meath, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Dublin and Donegal.

The majority of tasking’s are in support of the HSE ensuring that key staff can get to hospitals and nursing homes. We have been assisting palliative care nurses reaching their patients in the community as well as transporting the likes of dialysis patients to essential treatments and important drugs to Crumlin Children’s Hospital.

Defence Forces personnel are also deployed in support to An Garda Siochana for mobility operations, supporting local county councils to assist in clearing key transport hubs and providing meals on wheels services in the community.

The Defence Forces, Civil Defence and Department of Defence, as part of the National Emergency Management Group, are monitoring the requirement for support and local units are liaising with their counterparts in the County Councils, HSE and Garda Siochana.

Speaking from the National Emergency Coordination Centre, Minister of State Paul Kehoe said:

“I want to commend the work carried out by the Defence Forces and the Civil Defence during this challenging period.”

There has been important collaboration between the Defence Forces and primary response agencies such as the HSE. This has meant that patients have been able to receive the care they need during storm Emma.

From 4pm today the Defence Forces will cease conducting non-essential operations such as clearing snow and ice. Defence Forces personnel will be available for “in Extremis” situations of life and death. The regional emergency coordination mangers of the HSE, and others, will be asked to prioritise those tasks.

Minister Kehoe added:

“I can’t emphasise enough the need to remain indoors from 4pm today until 3pm tomorrow. Public safety is paramount.”