Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport Robert Troy TD says new correspondence highlights the Government’s failure to provide proper safety oversight of Ireland’s Search and Rescue Services.
Deputy Troy made the comments after Minister for Transport Shane Ross wrote to the Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Transport to outline proposed new regulatory powers for the Irish Aviation Authority.
Deputy Troy said, “Minister Ross and his Government colleagues have attempted to deny any responsibility for the regulatory issues which failed to respond to the serious safety concerns raised by members of the Irish Coast Guard.
“However correspondence that I have received shows that the Government failed to provide a revenue stream to support the Irish Aviation Authority’s work in dealing with safety issues relating to Search and Rescue Services. The Authority was given legal responsibility for such regulation in 2013 during An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s tenure as Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport.
“Furthermore a recent report carried out by RTÉ’s Prme Time highlighted that the oversight of Search and Rescue Services was audited by the International Civil Aviation Organization in 2010 and identified serious safety concerns that needed to be addressed.
“It’s astounding that these safety concerns were not addressed over the last 7 years and only came to light following the tragic and fatal accident of Rescue 116 coupled with an investigative report carried out by RTÉ.
“The Government’s attempt to deflect from its failings regarding the regulatory oversight of Search and Rescue Services is shameful. It is obvious that Minister Ross and the Department of Transport, Communications and Sport has been aware of the serious safety concerns for many years and chose not to take any action to deal with the issue,” concluded Deputy Troy.