Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Minister out of favour with Irish Air Corps

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Minister out of favour with Irish Air Corps

    Old news now even though it has tomorrows date on it, here it is anyway.




    LET’S hope Transport Minister Noel Dempsey securely fastens the aircraft door the next time he cadges a ride with the Irish Air Corps. He’s not their flavour of the month.

    In fact, to describe him as the most arrogant and out of touch politico among the nincompoops who govern us would strike a cord with our long-suffering aviators.

    You see, Dempsey on behalf of the Irish Coast Guard (which in itself is a component of the Department of Transport) has leased a fleet of Sikorsky S-92 search and rescue aircraft in a ten-year €500 million deal with a Canadian syndicate called CHC Helicopters. The syndicate will make their helicopters available 24 hours a day for maritime emergencies at bases in Shannon, Sligo, Dublin and Waterford.

    The deal, however, got up the nose of Air Corps people who believed they had the capability and experience to provide Search and Rescue (SAR) cover. The Air Corps, however, was never asked to cost a SAR service, even though the new Dempsey deal with CHC Helicopters more than doubled in price from previous years.

    Last May, ex-Brigadier General John O’Brien wrote to the Minister seeking a meeting. He wanted to make the case for renewed Air Corps involvement in emergency operations, and he proposed splitting the Search and Rescue service between the Air Corps and the Canadian company.

    Acknowledging that a small amount of modification of the Air Corps top-of-the-range AW-139 helicopters would be required, he argued that a project involving the Air Corps was value for money since it would be providing cover at two of the four bases. The cost to the taxpayer would be almost half of that charged by CHC Helicopters. As well, continuity of service would be guaranteed and the State would not be dependent on one private operator.

    The Brigadier General had a point. After all, the Defence Forces’ maritime search and rescue service did the nation proud for more than 40 years — until 2004 when the Air Corps lost the contract following an outbreak of ‘blue flu’ (a form of industrial protest the Gardaí had perfected).

    The then Defence Minister, Michael Smith, punished the Air Corps for their bolshie behaviour with a spiteful ‘up yours’ and invited CHC Helicopters to carry out all of the Air Corps SAR tasks. Once the multi-nationals got their foot in the door, they never left.

    VALUE FOR MONEY?

    Minister Dempsey refused to meet Brig General O’Brien, saying that Air Corps involvement was not an option. The distinguished ex-aeronaut was told there was ‘little point in discussing the matter further’ or, in un-parliamentary language, he was encouraged to get stuffed.

    At that point, the Opposition jumped in. They claimed the latest contract with CHC did not provide value for money but Dempsey totally ignored their concerns. Nor did he see any relevance in the Fine Gael argument that there was a need for greater scrutiny on the basis that the British government had suspended their own search and rescue contract with a group involving CHC because it was costing too much.

    Fine Gael have now called on Dempsey to publish the financial advice he got on the deal. They might as well be banging their heads against a hangar door.

    NO ROLE?

    Meanwhile, a Dublin magazine has highlighted the fact that the CHC contract marks a significant shift in Irish defence policy. CHC will continue to have responsibility for delivering fire teams, doctors and paramedics to ships in distress but they also will assist rescue teams in remote areas and provide emergency services for island communities in flood or snow crises.

    With the company’s Sikorsky S-92 aircraft moving into maritime surveillance, an area of operations hitherto exclusive to the Air Corps and the Naval Service, CHC will be photographing and assessing marine pollution, as well as contributing evidence for prosecution and attending court if required. The Air Corps Casa long-range fixed wing planes, operating from Baldonnel, previously did this work.

    Indeed, the question arises if the Air Corps will have any future role at all in the provision of emergency services now that Dempsey has ‘civilianised’ almost all its traditional functions — other than that of a ‘Ministerial Air Transport Service’ (in other words the politicos’ air taxi service).

    Whatever about crumbling morale, at least Air Corps technicians have the chance of parachuting into better things. Qatar, the oil-rich Arab state, is attempting to poach Irish technicians to work on its large fleet of AW-139 helicopters, which are renown for high standards of performance and state-of-the-art cockpit technology.

    Ironically, while the Irish Air Corps was the first military force in the world to use the AW-139, Dempsey apparently thinks they’re bummers for emergency missions and has opted for the CHC Sikorskys. Yet, Qatar has no problem using the AW-139 for Search-and-Rescue operations. Nor have the UK, Spain, Italy, Australia and Japan.

    Offering lucrative inducements, the Arabs are believed to have enticed several highly experienced Air Corps people to head for warmer climes. Thanks to Dempsey, more are expected to follow.



    Or you can check this out

    Auf YouTube findest du die angesagtesten Videos und Tracks. Außerdem kannst du eigene Inhalte hochladen und mit Freunden oder gleich der ganzen Welt teilen.


    Airs RTE 1 mid September
    Last edited by Helihead; 26 August 2010, 21:33.

  • #2
    That "article" reads like something out of Phoenix - one sided and full of errors

    Originally posted by Helihead View Post

    The then Defence Minister, Michael Smith, punished the Air Corps for their bolshie behaviour with a spiteful ‘up yours’ and invited CHC Helicopters to carry out all of the Air Corps SAR tasks. Once the multi-nationals got their foot in the door, they never left.
    The MNCs "got their foot in" years before that on the Shannon and then Dublin bases. The Minister hand sole responsibility to CHC (it had been shared).

    but they also will assist rescue teams in remote areas and provide emergency services for island communities in flood or snow crises.
    The Government hasn't announced a change in the roles of the DF!

    The Air Corps Casa long-range fixed wing planes, operating from Baldonnel, previously did this work.
    Incorrect

    Comment


    • #3
      I never thought I'd ever actually use this word but here goes: Poppycock.

      Shift in Defence policy? All of the roles listed above are a long way from military.

      This type of journalism comes from the same place that has seen the coining of phrases such as "The" Garda helicopter, "The" Air Corps Casa or "The" Coast Guard Helicopter.

      Is it too difficult to research the easily available information on the AW139 and find out if it is actually as capable as the S-92?

      Comment


      • #4
        I have it on good authority from people who work daily on the AW139 saying that its a shite heli.

        That or its the work practises!
        "The Question is not: how far you will take this? The Question is do you possess the constitution to go as far as is needed?"

        Comment


        • #5
          What a load of sh*te!!!
          Does'nt deserve the effort required to argue with it!!
          As the old saying goes...never argue with a fool...people looking on can't tell the difference!!!
          Last edited by Papa 242; 27 August 2010, 17:47.

          Comment


          • #6
            The fact that the author won't use his real name says a lot.
            "The dolphins were monkeys that didn't like the land, walked back to the water, went back from the sand."

            Comment


            • #7
              Can somr journo ring up RACO and put this bull to rest

              Comment

              Working...
              X