Laois Civil Defence to play key role in Pope Francis' visit to Ireland

Express Reporter

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Express Reporter

Laois Civil Defence volunteers to play major role during  Pope Francis' visit

Laois Civil Defence volunteers to play major role during Pope Francis' visit

Laois Civil Defence volunteers will play a major role in the Papal visit next weekend in Phoenix Park and at Knock Shrine.

They will be involved on the ground on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August in both the Phoenix Park and at Knock Shrine in supporting the Principal Response Agencies of the Gardai and the National Ambulance Services.

At Knock Shrine, 140 national volunteers will be on duty and coordinated by Rose Doherty who is the Civil Defence Officer for Mayo.

The 140 volunteers are drawn from counties Laois, Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon and Galway.

While their main role will be assisting the Gardai in terms of safety and stewarding at the event, volunteers will also be involved in supporting the National Ambulance Service. Volunteers will be on duty from Saturday night until Sunday evening.

Laois Civil Defence will provide a communications vehicle using the TETRA network to ensure efficient communications between all volunteers and with the Gardai and National Ambulance Service if required.

A number of volunteers will also support the Gardai with drone capability if required. A member of Laois Civil Defence drone team took part in one of the largest operations the systems have been used for to date. Teams from Dublin, Laois, Cork South, Cavan, and Wexford completed an aerial survey and digital mapping of the Phoenix Park in advance of the Papal Visit.

Roscommon Civil Defence will provide their Welfare unit to provide food for all volunteers on duty over the Saturday night and Sunday.

In terms of the Phoenix Park where up to 500,000 people are expected on Sunday the 26 August, overall, there will be approximately 400 Civil Defence volunteers on duty.

Dublin Civil Defence will be assisted by volunteers from counties Laois, Wicklow, Clare, Cork, Wexford, Kildare, Limerick, Meath, Monaghan, Kildare, Cavan, Louth and Offaly.

Civil Defence will provide a range of equipment including 11 ambulances, 9 fire appliances, 19 heavy vehicles including four wheel drives, large vans and medium size trucks and 2 minibuses for transportation and logistics.

Civil Defence will also have a welfare unit in operation to provide food for all volunteers on duty over the Saturday night and Sunday.