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Last chance for Irish Sail Training?

7th December 2009
Last chance for Irish Sail Training?

It's rare, given the times that are in it, when a way to make two groups of people financially happy pops up. Rarer indeed, when it involves buying a boat. So how about this: Ireland's Department of Defence could save €1million, and the Dublin Docklands Development Authority could generate some much-needed cash by agreeing a deal on the Jeanie Johnson. Could it be that simple?

The Jeanie has sat idle for much of 2009, with the following message front and centre on their website :

The Jeanie Johnston will not be operating a sailing programme in 2009. The ship will remain docked at Dublin City Moorings in Docklands for the Summer and plans for 2010 will be confirmed at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the DDA announces that it lost €27million in 2008 and is struggling to survive.  pocket €3.8millionby way of an insurance claim on Asgard II, which sank on September 11, 2008 off the coast of France. That money is currently burning a hole in a government pocket somewhere. Since the sinking, there have been fudges and procrastination on how or if Ireland's sail training programme should be revived. Using the Jeanie Johnson has been mooted, and the DDA has said, more than once, that the Jeanie was not for sale. They plan to use her as a static museum instead.  

So, would striking a swift deal for the Jeanie Johnson make more sense now than it ever has before?

Pulling a figure from thin air, a €2.7million figure paid by Coiste an Asgard for Jeanie would represent 10% of 2008's DDDA losses recouped, and would also represent a saving of €1million for the government on the money received from the insurance claim. Money for old rope?

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