Thursday, 18 November 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
95. To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the role of the Office of Emergency Planning as it relates to dealing with extreme weather events in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [56575/21]
The Office of Emergency Planning (OEP) is a joint civil military office which supports me in my role as Chair of the Government Task Force on Emergency Planning. The Government Task Force coordinates emergency management policy across Government Departments and Agencies. The OEP acts as a focal point in matters of emergency planning and risk assessment and also acts to improve coordination of emergency planning across the various Departments and Agencies. The OEP manages the National Emergency Coordination Centre in Dublin which is available in the event that a Lead Government Department convenes the National Emergency Coordination Group.
The Strategic Emergency Management National Structures and Framework, approved by Government in July 2017, outlines the Lead Government Department principle and how this is applied across a "whole of Government" approach to managing responses to emergencies. In the case of severe weather emergencies, the Framework identifies the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage as the lead Government Department for such emergencies. In this regard the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage would collect information on severe weather and bring it to the attention of the Government Task Force, as appropriate.
Also of note is that the Government Task Force adopted a Strategic Emergency Management Guideline on Climate Change Adaptation in December 2020. This guidance document is aimed at Lead Government Departments to aid them in linking their emergency planning with the National Climate Adaptation Framework, which is led and coordinated by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications.