Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

County Donegal 'wiped off crisis HQ maps'

Donegal Senator Joe McHugh said the oversight could be down to genuine confusion
Donegal Senator Joe McHugh said the oversight could be down to genuine confusion

The worst suspicions of Ireland's "forgotten county" have been realised after it emerged Donegal does not exist on the maps of the Government`s crisis response headquarters.

The apparent oversight at the National Emergency Co-ordinating Centre was further proof the Republic's second-largest county does not exist in the minds of central policy-makers, senior politicians claimed.

Charts on the walls of the taskforce HQ, two floors up in Dublin's Agriculture House, show in detail the east, west and south of Ireland.

But in the event of a major catastrophe hitting Donegal or Northern Ireland, crisis management teams will have to scramble outside the nerve-centre to locate a map of Ulster, it seems.

Donegal Senator Joe McHugh said the revelation would be nothing new to the man on the street in Donegal but it would rub salt into their wounds. "This is a continuation of the inglorious attitude towards the forgotten county," he said.

The HQ also has detailed street maps of the capital and Cork beside clocks showing local time and UTC - coordinated universal time, which is one hour ahead of standard Irish time.

Fianna Fail Senator Cecilia Keaveney said it was not the first time the fiercely independent Donegal has been apparently overlooked by officialdom.

"Are we gone again?" she said. "This is the third time. We'll take it for granted then that we're all right."

Striking a conciliatory note, Mr McHugh said the oversight could be down to genuine confusion on the part of government officials.

Officials from Government departments, State agencies and emergency services meet at the emergency taskforce centre in the event of a major crisis, such as the current volcanic ash cloud fall-out.

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