Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Order of Business
The events of the past few days have brought home to us all the selfless work that those involved in the Coast Guard service do and the risks they take to protect everyone in the country. An issue that they, especially the Coast Guard's volunteer members, have been raising consistently is the need for statutory recognition of the service. As the Taoiseach knows, the other forms of emergency response - the Garda and the fire and ambulance services - have statutory recognition.
Many Deputies in this House have raised the issue with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Ross. As I understand it the legislation goes back to 1856. Deputy Troy raised the issue with the Minister recently. The Minister is of the view that legislation is not necessary but I urge the Taoiseach to personally examine the matter to establish whether there is a need for statutory recognition of the Irish Coast Guard service. Those involved in providing the very services on which we rely passionately believe there is such a need. I urge the Taoiseach to examine the issue, discuss it with the Minister and revert to the House.