Cross-border Disaster Response and the Law: An Exploration of Ireland’s Compliance with International Guidelines

Ronan McDermott, Dr Pat Gibbons, Dr Heike Spieker, & Prof. Sinisa Malesevic

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A range of legal and regulatory issues arise during large-scale disasters. Based on research commissioned by the Irish Red Cross Society, this article explores the preparedness of the legal and policy framework in Ireland for a scenario in which cross- border disaster relief would be required. While Ireland’s compliance with recently developed Red Cross/Red Crescent and EU Guidelines is generally exemplary in relation to a range of issues such as requests and offers of assistance, the entry of relief personnel and goods and equipment, there are a number of areas in which compliance could be enhanced. Such areas include inspection requirements for search and rescue dogs arriving in the State, Garda vetting, health and safety, and the recognition of professional qualifications. Careful monitoring should be undertaken of the domestic legal and policy framework that takes account of shifts in Ireland’s risk profile and capacities with a view to ensuring that laws across a wide range of domains adequately facilitate and regulate potential international assistance operations.

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