The purpose of the Civil Defence Team in Kilkenny County Council is to be emergency ready to give support to the Principle Response Agencies in the county, including An Garda Siochana, the HSE, Fire & Rescue Service and other service areas in the Council. This has never been needed more than over the past 12 months.
The 4 main areas where assistance is given are in Transport, Casualty, Search and Rescue and Flood Response. The Civil Defence are called on during severe weather, to assist at community events and to back up emergency services.
Currently there are 34 volunteers in Kilkenny’s Civil Defence, with a plan to increase that to 50 volunteers in 2021. To keep their skills up the volunteers engage with the community by covering sporting and charitable events with first aid support and safety boat cover.
Outlining the role of the Civil Defence in Kilkenny, Katherine Peacock, Civil Defence Officer outlined to the Elected Members of Kilkenny County Council at its February Monthly Meeting the part they played in the COVID-19 response throughout 2020. The Team of Volunteers completed 350 COVID-19 related duties with volunteers giving 2,112 hours of time and effort supporting their communities. Duties included packing and delivering 340 care boxes to the elderly, children with disabilities and vulnerable families, 100 medical transports to hospitals, doctors and COVID Assessment Units and administrative support to the Irish Blood Transfusion Service for 5 weeks.
This valuable service is funded by both the Department of Defence and Kilkenny County Council. In 2020 the Civil Defence received just under €200,000 in funding which helped to secure new vehicles and equipment for an increasing number of volunteers to provide critical community support when needed. The service will receive further support in 2021 with the addition of a full time Assistant Defence Officer.
Director of Services, Mary Mulholland, welcomed the increasing number of Civil Defence volunteers and thanked all those who have given their time to train and provide assistance to their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular. Future plans for the service include the addition of a Drone team, the purchase of a 4x4 ambulance and increased numbers of volunteers.
Cathaoirleach, Andrew McGuinness congratulated Katherine Peacock on her dynamic contribution adding that “We look forward to the continued development of the Civil Defence in Kilkenny and acknowledge their real contribution to communities all over our County when they need it most.”