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Displaying items by tag: Willie O'Dea

18th February 2011

Now There is None

I remember the pride I felt when describing on television the Parade of the Tall Ships down the River Suir from Waterford in 2005. Three Irish tall ships led it. First was ASGARD II, Ireland's national tall ship; followed by the DUNBRODY from New Ross and then the JEANIE JOHNSTON from Kerry.

What a magnificent sight it was as the three Tall Ships, each flying the Tricolour, headed the fleet of the gracious ships of sail from all over the world.

How different it will be in July when the world's Tall Ships again parade down the Suir. There will be no Irish national sailing ship to lead the parade. A number of private Irish entries are expected at Waterford from June 30–July 3 amongst the 70 vessels from around the world when the city has the honour starting the race. In 2005 about half-a-million people visited the city while the Tall Ships were there.

The lack of a national tall ship is another example of governmental maritime neglect, directly due to the decision of former Defence Minister Willie O'Dea, T.D. After the sinking of ASGARD he publicly committed the Government to its replacement, but after receiving insurance compensation money for its loss, he put the money into coffers of the Department of Finance and closed down the national sail training programme. There was a big difference between what he promised and what he did, a disregard for the maritime sphere which it is hard to forgive. I also recall how former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern did not visit Waterford during the 2005 race, when it was the biggest tourist event in the country. When I broadcast my report expressing astonishment at this snub government sources and Fianna Fail didn't like it. Truth in the news can be painful!

The organisers made contacts about the DUNBRODY, which continues to earn income at the New Ross quayside where it is moored as a tourist attraction and with the JEANIE JOHNSTON, moored at the Dublin Docklands.

However, neither will be taking part, the organisers have confirmed, tough they said that it was expected that about 100 young Irish trainees would sail aboard tall ships in the race, half of them with funding support from local authority, business and other sources. A group of Irish sailors have also indicated they are making arrangements to charter a UK-registered vessel the JOHANNA LUCRETIA for the event.

Once again the Irish Government has sunk to the bottom where maritime matters are concerned.

It was announced this week in Waterford that Fáilte Ireland has made a significant financial and marketing commitment to this year's event, though the financial figure was not disclosed .A free festival programme will feature street acts; comedy; international and home-grown artists, nightly fireworks, an artisan food village and an atmosphere which the organisers say "will thrill people of all ages and nationalities."

• This article is reprinted by permission of the EVENING ECHO newspaper, Cork, where Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation
15th September 2010

O'Dea Escapes on Late Late Show

Willie O'Dea appeared on RTE's Late Late Show on September 10. The following day, September 11, was a major day in Irish maritime history - the second anniversary of the sinking of the national sail training vessel, Asgard. O'Dea did not have a difficult time on the Late Late Show which did not pursue an important aspect of his career – his decision to abandon the national sail training programme.

Why is it that the Dublin-based national media have such little awareness of the maritime sphere? How could the researchers on the Late Late Show, promoted as a top RTE programme, ignore Mr.O'Dea's actions and challenge his misleading public statements on this issue?

odea

Ryan Tubridy interviews Willie O'Dea on the Late Late Show

He is on public record as Minister in pledging the replacement of Asgard. But while he said one thing, he did another, though attempting to pass the responsibility sideways to the Asgard committee, which, of course, he had appointed and which failed to challenge him. Should Ministers not deliver on what they publicly commit themselves to? Willie O'Dea handed over the compensation money for the sinking of the national sail training vessel to the Department of Finance, a callous abandonment of the maritime traditions of this nation. Over 12,000 young people had been given sail training courses aboard Asgard during its 25 years of operation.

Now Ireland does not have a national sail training vessel, nor a national sail training programme. For a maritime nation, this is disgraceful.

Next year the international Tall Ships Race returns to Ireland. It will be hosted again in Waterford, which will have the honour of being the port to start the event. This will also be a great honour for Ireland.

But remember that when the Tall Ships Race was last in Waterford, in 2005, then Taoiseach Bertie Ahern never visited the event. That, in my view, was an insult to the occasion and I said so at the time, which did not go down well with the Government. But it is not my concern to be popular with a Government which has dealt with the sail training programme in an appalling way.

Nor am I concerned to be popular with my former employers, RTE. The Late Late Show failed to pursue O'Dea on a crucial maritime issue, which should have been its public service duty on a date and an occasion particularly relevant to the marine sector.

• This article is reprinted by permission of the Cork Evening Echo in which Tom MacSweeney writes maritime columns twice weekly. Evening Echo website: www.eecho.ie

Published in Island Nation

Marine Science Perhaps it is the work of the Irish research vessel RV Celtic Explorer out in the Atlantic Ocean that best highlights the essential nature of marine research, development and sustainable management, through which Ireland is developing a strong and well-deserved reputation as an emerging centre of excellence. From Wavebob Ocean energy technology to aquaculture to weather buoys and oil exploration these pages document the work of Irish marine science and how Irish scientists have secured prominent roles in many European and international marine science bodies.

 

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At A Glance – Ocean Facts

  • 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by the ocean
  • The ocean is responsible for the water cycle, which affects our weather
  • The ocean absorbs 30% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere by human activity
  • The real map of Ireland has a seabed territory ten times the size of its land area
  • The ocean is the support system of our planet.
  • Over half of the oxygen we breathe was produced in the ocean
  • The global market for seaweed is valued at approximately €5.4 billion
  • · Coral reefs are among the oldest ecosystems in the world — at 230 million years
  • 1.9 million people live within 5km of the coast in Ireland
  • Ocean waters hold nearly 20 million tons of gold. If we could mine all of the gold from the ocean, we would have enough to give every person on earth 9lbs of the precious metal!
  • Aquaculture is the fastest growing food sector in the world – Ireland is ranked 7th largest aquaculture producer in the EU
  • The Atlantic Ocean is the second largest ocean in the world, covering 20% of the earth’s surface. Out of all the oceans, the Atlantic Ocean is the saltiest
  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world. It’s bigger than all the continents put together
  • Ireland is surrounded by some of the most productive fishing grounds in Europe, with Irish commercial fish landings worth around €200 million annually
  • 97% of the earth’s water is in the ocean
  • The ocean provides the greatest amount of the world’s protein consumed by humans
  • Plastic affects 700 species in the oceans from plankton to whales.
  • Only 10% of the oceans have been explored.
  • 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean each year, equal to dumping a garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute.
  • 12 humans have walked on the moon but only 3 humans have been to the deepest part of the ocean.

(Ref: Marine Institute)

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