The new Limerick Civil Defence Headquarters facility at Docklands Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick was officially opened last evening (Thursday, 14 January 2016) by Cllr. Liam Galvin, Cathaoirleach of the City and County of Limerick.
The state-of-the-art facility, which will be utilised by 100 Civil Defence volunteers from around Limerick, includes multiple training/lecture rooms and store rooms, operations and communications rooms, CISM debriefing room, offices, canteen facilities and water rescue equipment stores.
The new facility replaces the former Limerick City Civil Defence headquarters at Thomas Street, which has operated since 1986. The Limerick Civil Defence facility at Annacotty, which formerly operated at the organisation's County Headquarters, will continue to operate as a training centre as well as complement operations conducted from the newly opened Docklands facility.
Speaking at the official opening, Cllr. Liam Galvin remarked on Limerick Civil Defence's "outstanding record of service over many years."
He said, "As a volunteer-based organisation, Civil Defence members give freely of their time to acquire skills that will be vital to the local community in times of need. Acquiring these skills involves many hours of training, which is why it is why I warmly welcome the development of this new, modern and extensive headquarters facility."
“I have every confidence that this new facility will make an excellent organisation even better by allowing the Civil Defence volunteers to undergo multi-skilled training that will benefit them in their work. I wish the Civil Defence Officer and all volunteer members of Limerick Civil Defence continued success in the future and I would like to pay special tribute to the wonderful volunteer ethos that exists within the local Civil Defence organisation”, he added.
The new building has been acquired by Limerick City and County Council for Limerick Civil Defence at a cost of €310,000 (plus VAT). Funding also has also been provided by the Regional Civil Defence Branch in Roscrea for the retrofitting of the building.
Speaking at the official opening, Pat Dowling, Deputy Chief Executive, commented, "The Council is committed to ensuring that Limerick Civil Defence is best placed to carry out its multitude of services and activities. In particular, this new facility allows the Civil Defence to host regular and centralised training activities and events for the increasing number of Civil Defence volunteers."
"The involvement of the Civil Defence in the ongoing flood response efforts along the Lower River Shannon and during search and rescue operations highlights the importance of ensuring that members are given access to the proper training facilities and the best equipment," added Mr. Dowling.
"This is a very proud moment for my colleague Jos Kirby (joint Civil Defence Officer) and I and everyone associated with Limerick Civil Defence," said Cecilia O'Flaherty, Project Manager and joint Limerick Civil Defence Officer.
She added: "During the past 7 years in my current position and in the preceding two decades as a Civil Defence volunteer, I have witnessed the enormous contribution made by Civil Defence members and the changing role of the organisation. This new facility responds to the changing needs and roles of the Civil Defence and will be of benefit to all volunteer members as well as the general public into the future."
Limerick Civil Defence continues to support and participate in various local, national and international activities and operations, including land and water based searches for missing persons, emergency responses to weather incidents, and medical cover for Munster and International games at Thomond Park, the International Band Parade, Limerick FC matches at the Markets Field. Limerick Civil Defence members are also engaged in a number of events throughout the year including the St. Patricks Day Festival, Great Limerick Run, Milford Hospice Fair and the UL Sports Kids Run.
Limerick Civil Defence currently possess 4X4 wheel drive jeeps, ambulances, RIB and inflatable boats, sprinter & transit vehicles, ambulances, fire appliance, a mobile communication vehicle, flooding unit, bike unit and a kayak unit. The Civil Defence recently has been provided with a Sprinter vehicle and 4X4 wheel drive ambulance courtesy of the Civil Defence Branch in Roscrea while it has also been issued with Tetra radios, which allow members to speak with emergency responders from different agencies as a combined group.
Meanwhile, Limerick Civil Defence has announced it is currently training 40 new recruits between the Docklands and Annacotty facilities. A passing out parade is planned for July 2016 when all basic training is completed.