Senator claims Army does not have adequate resources to deal with severe storms

Gerard Craughwell says there is a lack of engineering units and chain saw operators

Senator Gerard Craughwell said there were only two qualified chain saw operators covering the entire northern section of the country in a line from Dublin to Galway. Photograph:  Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

Senator Gerard Craughwell said there were only two qualified chain saw operators covering the entire northern section of the country in a line from Dublin to Galway. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

 

Independent Senator Gerard Craughwell has claimed the Army does not have adequate resources to deal with a weather incident like Hurricane Ophelia.

He told the Seanad on Tuesday he congratulated the Government on an excellent job of preparedness and for the excellent co-ordination of services throughout the storm.

“The Taoiseach and his Ministers have been a credit to the country,’’ he added.

However, he said he was “absolutely horrified’’ when he heard Minister of State for Defence Paul Kehoe “misleading the country’’ on RTÉ Radio earlier.

“He spoke about engineering units being available in every barracks in the country to assist the local authorities,’’ Mr Craughwell added.

“There are no engineering units in counties Donegal, Galway, Limerick or Kilkenny.’’

He said one-third of an engineering unit was available in Dublin, two-thirds in Athlone.

There was one full engineering unit available in Cork, said Mr Craughwell.

He said there were two qualified chain saw operators covering the entire northern section of the country in a line from Dublin to Galway.

“I wonder how useful they will be in the entire counties of Galway, Mayo, Sligo, Donegal, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth, ’’ he added.

“This is a shameful misleading of the public.’’