Tipperary garda officer pays tribute to mountain rescue team driver during Storm Emma

Tipperary garda officer pays tribute to mountain rescue team driver during Storm Emma

Antoinette Cunningham addresses the conference.

A high ranking Garda has praised the part played by the South East Mountain Rescue in Tipperary during Storm Emma.

The driver of the team's 4x4 vehicle became a defacto Garda driver during the blizzard.

However Antoinette Cunningham, president of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), said this exposed the force's lack of adequate equipment for such emergencies.

The Templemore Garda College-based official paid tribute to the rescue team at the association's annual conference.

She said that Storm Emma brought severe policing challenges to the organisation and she commended those members of the Association who travelled and worked in severe weather conditions, who walked into work, who stayed overnight in hotels and slept in emergency type accommodation and still provided a service to the public.

“Your dedication and commitment is a credit to the uniform you wear and the Association you represent”, she said.

And she continued - "However Storm Emma once again highlighted the complete lack of planning and resources available to us as an emergency service to deal with such a crisis.

“In Tipperary we had a situation where the south east 4x4 mountain rescue volunteer driver became the defacto Garda driver and assisted our members to answer calls in his vehicle, owing to the fact that we had no suitable transport ourselves.

“ We relied on the army, defence forces and civil defence to assist us in our calls while we thank them sincerely for it, the situation exposed us in many areas. 

"While we are realistic to know that a significant investment is not going to be made in equipment that is needed only for severe weather events, we would suggest that regional interagency groups should be established to identify the combined resources available and how these might be used to maximum benefit in areas outside Dublin in the event of a National Weather alert”.

And addressing the Garda Commissioner, she said - “We would ask you Commissioner to consider this and bring it forward so that members are not left exposed and scrambling for solutions without any proper planning or guidance."