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Confusion between Irish rescue agencies highlighted in report

Confusion and potential conflicts of interest between agencies have been highlighted in a report into search and rescue aviation missions.

The review was commissioned by Transport Minister Shane Ross in March and carried out by external and international experts.

It came on the back of a recommendation by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU), but has not been published yet.

The review recommended that the responsibility for the legal and safety oversight of civil aviation rescue missions should be given to the Irish Aviation Authority.

According to RTÉ, the report said that between the oversight agencies there had been “several sources of confusion and potential conflicts of interest that have resulted in a lack of shared understanding of roles and responsibilities”.

Reacting to the report, Fianna Fáil Transport spokesman Robert Troy said there was “an obvious absence of understanding regarding responsibilities” and called for Minister Ross to publish the report.

“The effectiveness of our search and rescue services should be a primary concern of the Government,” he said. “The Department of Transport has been negligent in ensuring who has what responsibility. It’s imperative now that every effort is made to remove any degree of ambiguity surrounding duties and operations,” he added.

In a statement last night, the Department of Transport said that the Minister regrets that “a sensitive and confidential report” had been leaked.

It added that the report came into the Department earlier this month and “had been the subject of close examination and consideration internally” and the report will be published when the AAIU has considered it. “It is proper that the AAIU has the opportunity to fully consider the report in the context of its on-going, wide-ranging investigation into the R116 accident before publication in order to ensure that it does not in any way jeopardise any other element of its on-going investigation,” the statement read.

“The Minister will publish the report and his action points once the AAIU have had time to consider it.”

Irish Independent

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