Report attributes staff shortages to delay in Air Corps assisting in major gorse fire

A report commissioned by the Minister for Defence has found that delays in the Air Corps responding to a major gorse fire in West Donegal last month was due to staff shortages.

It took almost 8 hours for support from the Air Corps to arrive at the scene of the blaze which started in Annagry.

The investigation highlighted problems with recruiting pilots and crew.

According to the Irish Independent, a report commissioned by Minister Paul Kehoe has found there was not an undue delay in dispatching troops.

It said helicopter support "was deployed as quickly as possible".

The review however, highlighted a "diminished" capability within the Air Corps was due to a lack of experienced personnel.

A call was made to the Department of Defence requesting assistance at 9:18am on April 22nd, at 12:41pm it was confirmed that a crew could be made available.

The aircraft took off from Dublin at 4pm, arriving in West Donegal at 5.05pm.

The report finds no fault in how the situation was dealt with but does point to wider issues.

It said concerted efforts are underway to address the "well-known pressures on the Air Corps".

In response to the report, Minister Kehoe said as demonstrated by the report, the Air Corps is a back up service and said that it does take time to assemble crew and equipment.