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afloat blog header Axe Falls on Sail Training

15th December 2009 Axe Falls on Sail Training


The axing of the state sail training programme, has been met with dismay by marine bodies who this week pledged a united voice to push for its reinstatement. This is in spite of the fact the state's only sail training vessel still lies wrecked on the sea-bed off France, a year since its sinking.

Coiste an Asgard, the body responsible for state sail training, was abolished as part of last Wednesday's budget, a cut the government say will produce a saving of 800,000 per annum.

Many say the news is no surprise because the closure was ear-marked in the McCarthy report this summer.

The shut-down though symbolises the end of the line for a 30-year old national sail training programme that introduced thousands of young people to the sea.

For many in the marine Sector, losing Asgard was bad enough but losing the entire programme this week is quite another.

Yesterday, the Irish Sailing Association Chief Harry Hermon called for the establishment of a new 'marine alliance' to promote boating interests.

The ISA action plan is being supported by the Marine Federation who expressed disappointment because there were repeated assurances from government that it would continue.

The Government maintained it was finalising plans for a replacement steel vessel.

Instead the insurance sum of 3.8 million received for Asgard has been transferred to the Department of Finance as ‘Extra Exchequer Receipts’.

The Department of Defence also confirmed there are no plans to provide sail training cruises in 2010.

The smaller Creidne naval had been refurbished and scheduled for use but this will not proceed.

'It has a capacity for only eight trainees and is not capable of providing a full sail training experience', according to a Dept spokeswoman.


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