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FMolloy
2nd July 2003, 17:32
From:ireland.com
Wednesday, 2nd July, 2003


Soldiers' representative group PDFORRA said today it was concerned about flight safety in the Air Corps.

This despite assurances made after the deaths of a four-man Search and Rescue (SAR) Aircrew in Waterford four years ago.

PDFORRA General Secretary Mr Gerry Rooney said: "Many personnel working in the Search and Rescue area have lost confidence in the flight safety environment in which they are required to work.

Mr Rooney said: "This is a most serious issue and it must be addressed by the relevant authorities".

Under the current safety environment PDFORRA fears that the lives of SAR crews are being put unnecessarily at risk, he said.

PDFORRA said has called for the imposition of a strict flight safety regime - even if this means a suspension of SAR operations until the necessary safety systems are modified and improved.

Mr Rooney said: "Although improved safety structures have been introduced as a result of recommendations of a Safety Audit Report produced by external consultants, there has been little change in the actual workings of flight safety systems."

"It is imperative that the Air Corps authorities address this issue so the lives of our members and indeed the service users are not put at unnecessary risk," he said.

Bud Fox
2nd July 2003, 17:37
July 2, 2003

(17:00) The Defence Forces have rejected PDFORRA's criticism of the lack of change in the workings of flight safety systems within the Air Corps.

The Forces' statement reiterates its commitment to implementing robust and enduring safety procedures to ensure a safe working environment for all its personnel and service users.

In Air Corps operations, it says, safety of the flight crew and service users is the overriding factor and is considered as an absolute operational priority.

The soldiers' representative association had earlier said it still had concerns about flight safety in the Air Corps.

This was in spite of assurances given after the deaths of a four-man search and rescue helicopter crew in Waterford four years ago today.

The association said many personnel on search and rescue duties have lost confidence in the flight safety environment in which they are required to work.

Gerry Rooney, General Secretary of PDFORRA, said checks which should have been carried out on safety equipment had not been done.