Minister for Defence and Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney (FG) has officially opened the new Clare Civil Defence headquarters.
Located on the Quin Rd campus in Ennis, the state-of-the-art building will be utilised by more than 100 Civil Defence volunteers from across Clare. It has training facilities, office accommodation, a records management centre, storage and a garage.
Contracts for the refurbishment were signed in September 2019 with an estimated cost of €2.7m detailed. The finished product cost €3.2m, The Clare Echo understands. The acquisition and redevelopment of the headquarters was funded by Clare County Council, supported by the Department of Defence. Clare Civil Defence operates one of the most modern fleets in the country, which is funded through the Civil Defence section of the Department of Defence.
The project was delivered by Clare County Council Property Management, General Design office and Civil Defence teams, contractors Jada Kelly RAC Joint Venture and O’Keeffe Electrical, and external consultants Moloney Fox Mechanical and Electrical, Aecon Quantity Surveyors and Paddy Coleman & Associates, Structural Engineers.
Clare Civil Defence currently has 82 active volunteer members and 30 reserve members. 300 separate COVID-19 related tasks multiple other roles including a number of missing person searches have been undertaken by the Civil Defence. Volunteer members have contributed over 3,500 volunteer hours so far during the Covid-19 pandemic
Speaking at the official opening of the Clare Civil Defence headquarters, Minister Coveney remarked, “It is a fantastic facility and a tribute to everyone who has been involved in this project. We have some of the Civil Defence volunteer community here and I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to them. Clare Civil Defence have undertaken 300 separate Covid-19 related tasks, and multiple other roles including a number of missing person searches, including in January, which concluded with the safe return of an elderly man. It is an organisation that brings with it a high level of professionalism in a volunteer body. During the darkest times of this pandemic, there were very few positives, however our renewed sense of community during this same period is something we should be all proud of”.
Cathaoirleach of Clare County Council, Cllr Mary Howard (FG) lauded the “outstanding record” of the Clare Civil Defence. She added, “The development of this modern and well-equipped Civil Defence facility is timely and will support the essential and indeed life-saving work carried out by Civil Defence members. Clare Civil Defence is a volunteer-based organisation. Acquiring the necessary skills to do their demanding work involves significant training, which is why the investment in these facilities is so worthwhile”.
Pat Dowling, Chief Executive of Clare County Council, said: “2020 was an extremely busy year for Clare Civil Defence, which resulted in the largest number of duties and responses carried out in the history of the unit in a single year. As they always do, the volunteer members have gone above and beyond what could be expected of them. The work done by Clare Civil Defence at times of severe weather events, flooding and storms is hugely important”.