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“Personnel Issues Are a Blind Spot in the Coast Guard”- John O’Mahony, Volunteers Representative Association

12th November 2021
John O’Mahony, Chairman of the Coast Guard Volunteers  representative association
John O’Mahony, Chairman of the Coast Guard Volunteers representative association

John O’Mahony, Chairman of the first representative association for Coast Guard volunteers, says that “Personnel issues are the worst failing in the Coast Guard. It’s like a blind spot.”

He was Deputy Officer-in-Charge of the Toe Head Unit, originally the ‘Coast and Cliff Rescue’ before the Coast Guard was re-named and amalgamated with the Glandore Unit in West Cork. Toe Head is on the coastal edge south of Castletownshend and Glandore in West Cork.

O’Mahony runs Belco Marine Electronics Ltd., in Skibbereen and has experience in the fishing industry and the Defence Forces.

The Coast Guard is a vital lifesaving service. Its Volunteers are crucial to its successful operation. Still, the Volunteer issues are a cause for concern when a Unit like that at Doolin is taken off its operational role because members resigned. Catriona Lucas, who died during a search operation in Kilkee, was a member of the Doolin Unit. The new representative association was publicly launched in Kilkee.

Reporting issues in the management and operations of the Coast Guard has been a challenge. I have had many calls, some supportive, others with information and some rather vitriolic, condemning media reports and denying any personnel problems.

John O’Mahony told me on my Maritime Ireland Radio Show that the new association is now seeking “an urgent meeting” with Transport Minister Eamonn Ryan and Minister of State at the Department, which has responsibility for the Coast Guard, Hildegarde Naughton.

Listen to my Podcast with John O'Mahony here

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for Afloat.ie. He presents the monthly programme Maritime Ireland on Podcast services and Irish radio stations.

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