Exercise Neptune Donegal County Council’s emergency services joined forces for a day of interagency emergency planning in Letterkenny. (Pic: Clive Wasson)

Donegal’s emergency services personnel put their teamwork and training to the test as part of a major emergency exercise, organised by the Northwest Regional Working Group for Major Emergency Management, in late September in Letterkenny.

Code-named ‘Exercise Neptune’, the event was based on a rapidly-escalating flooding incident in the Finn Valley area, involving up to 100 participants including reported ‘casualties’ and widespread property damage.

The table-top exercise and workshops in Letterkenny’s Clanree Hotel on 27 September was organised by Donegal County Council, the Gardaí and the HSE (West) under the umbrella of the Northwest Regional Working Group for Major Emergency Management.

The overall objective of the exercise was to strengthen and develop the co-operation and co-ordination arrangements between the principal response agencies and the Defence Forces, the Irish Coast Guard, the Civil Defence and the Irish Red Cross, when responding to a major emergency brought about as a result of a severe weather event.

Donegal County Council’s Emergency Planning Officer and Exercise Director Kevin McGarvey said the exercise provided a valuable opportunity for the principal response agencies and their partner agencies to test plans, inter-agency co-ordination and preparations for a large-scale flood emergency response.

“These types of flooding incidents are becoming more and more common place and carrying out exercises of this nature will make a big difference to the potential outcomes should a real incident occur in County Donegal anytime into the future,” McGarvey noted.