Crowe Calls for Search & Rescue Report to Be Published

Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has called on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to release a controversial report into the provision of search and rescue services in Ireland and said that it was vital that a full debate be carried out around who is exactly  responsible for the sector.

It followed on from that agency’s inquiry into the fatal helicopter crash near Blackrock in Mayo back in 2017

According to leaked media reports the review has identified several sources of confusion among the agencies overseeing the system.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The Search and Rescue Services are a vital service, are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and regularly put their lives on the line to rescue individuals.

“The Sikorsky Helicopter accident that killed the crew near Blackrock, off the coast of Mayo back in 2017 sent shock waves around Ireland. Flight 116 crashed into the sea while supporting a rescue operation of an injured fisherman.

“News that an unpublished review and seen by RTÉ News, that was commissioned on the recommendation of the Irish Air Accident Investigation Unit suggests that there is widespread confusion regarding who is in basically in charge.

“This is unacceptable and needs to be resolved urgently and I am calling on the Minister for Transport Shane Ross to publish the leaked report.

“The study carried out by a team of international experts was tasked with examining any gaps in the oversight of search and rescue operations and we need to know what they are recommending.

“Clearly there can be no room for ambiguity or confusion over who is ultimately in charge and if leaked media reports are correct then there needs to be a full debate carried out and new legislation drafted if that is causing the confusion.

“The leaked report supposedly recommends that the Department of Transport assigns the Irish Aviation Authority with responsibility for the legal and safety oversight of civil aviation search and rescue activities.

“Worryingly it also found that the Irish Coast Guard did not have the necessary knowledge to monitor the technical safety regulations as contained in the contract with the company that provides the helicopter search and rescue service.