DUBLIN, Ireland - The Irish government has its published first annual report on Ireland's National Search and Rescue Plan (NSP).
The SAR Plan was published in July last year following a major review of the Search and Rescue system in Ireland. This first report from the National SAR Committee was published on Monday.
"The new plan represents a step change in how we do and oversee search and rescue in Ireland. One year on, I am very pleased with the progress including continued strong working relations between the Irish Coast Guard, the Irish Aviation Authority and An Garda Sochna who provide these vital services," Minister of State Hildegarde Naughton said Monday.
The NSP provided for a new National SAR Committee (NSARC) which for the first time brought all key stakeholders in maritime, land and aeronautical SAR together under an independent chair to look at how the overall system is working and where it can be improved. This first report, the government says, provides detail on the progress of the phased implementation of the NSP as well as the work of the National SAR Committee and other new structures including the SAR Consultative Committee, the SAR Regulatory Forum and the SAR Health and Safety Forum. It also reviews the SAR related activities of the Coast Guard, the Irish Aviation Authority and an Garda Sochna over the past year which includes support from the Defence Forces.
"Given the additional challenges imposed this year by Covid-19, the report is a strong endorsement of the commitment and dedication of all those involved in Search and Rescue in Ireland volunteers and staff. It is clear from the report that there is a genuine determination at all levels to ensure we learn the lessons from the past and to make sure that Ireland's SAR system is world class in all its aspects," Naughton said.
Paying tribute to Sir Alan Massey who stepped down as Chair of the National SAR Committee in July, the minister added: "I would like to sincerely thank Sir Alan Massey who is stepping down as Chair of the NSARC following almost two years of involvement in this project, from steering the SAR Framework Review through to chairing the first year of the NSARC. Alan's contribution to the reform agenda has been immense, fuelled by his own drive, deep knowledge of SAR internationally and a personal commitment to this process. He has left an important legacy in his brief but intense involvement with SAR in Ireland."