Update from Head of the Civil Service on Storm Ophelia

Date published: 16 October 2017

The Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service, David Sterling, has provided an update on the response to Storm Ophelia following a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Group (Northern Ireland).


David Sterling said: “Events relating to Storm Ophelia will inevitably be fast moving throughout the course of today. This afternoon I called a meeting of the Civil Contingencies Group and I can reassure the public well-established co-ordination protocols have been activated and experienced emergency teams are in place for deployment as required.

“Over the last 48 hours, judgement calls have had to be taken in relation to matters which impact on the daily lives of our citizens and all those decisions have been taken in the context of keeping the people of Northern Ireland as safe as possible.

“I was reassured by representatives at the meeting where they reported they have identified additional resources for the service and areas they consider most in need. This forward planning will leave us better placed to deal with the aftermath.

“I have arranged for a further meeting at 8am tomorrow morning unless we need to convene before then. This afternoon I will visit the strategic command centre at the PSNI to view the operation and thank staff for their efforts.

“I would appeal to members of the public to remain calm but be vigilant to the potential effects of the storm and follow the advice on the nidirect website at: www.nidirect.gov.uk/ophelia.

“Further information will be communicated as quickly as possible as the situation develops.”

Notes to editors: 

1. Organisations represented on the Civil Contingencies Group (Northern Ireland) include:

  • The Executive Office 
  • Executive Information Service
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs  (to include Scientific Advisor,  Northern Ireland Environment Agency and Veterinary Service)
  • Department of Health
  • Department for Infrastructure (to include Rivers Agency, Transport NI and NI Water)
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Finance (to include Enterprise Shared Services)
  • Department for Communities (to include DfC Local Government Policy Division,  NI Housing Executive and the Social Security Agency)
  • Department of Justice
  • Department for the Economy (to include Health and Safety Executive (NI))
  • Northern Ireland Office
  • Local Government
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland  
  • Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service
  • Northern Ireland Ambulance Service
  • Maritime and Coastguard Agency
  • Met Office
  • Food Standards Agency

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