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Displaying items by tag: RACO

The representative body of Irish Defence Forces Officer grades has warned that if immediate, significant retention initiatives are not implemented, the forces will not only never return to its target strength of 9,500, but will continue to decline.

As RTE reports, the Representative Association of Commissioned Officers (RACO) issued the warning in a briefing document for Oireachtas members.

RACO focuses on the staff recruitment and retention crisis in the Defence Forces, noting that despite Government commitments to boost numbers, they have fallen to an all-time low of 8,485 due to an "unsustainably high" staff turnover rate of 10.5% last year.

At the end of April, the Army had 6,867 members, the Naval Service had 892, while the Air Corps had 726.

In 2019, 870 Defence Forces members left the service, while 605 joined - a net loss of 265.

There are currently 1,015 vacancies, up from 327 at the end of 2017

In addition RACO highlights the impact of Covid-19 restrictions which will exasperate matters and more can be read here

Published in Navy

There are fears that the Naval Service due to under-resources won’t be able to combat maritime drug shipments while at the same time adequately patrolling EU fishery waters post-Brexit.

As the Irish Examiner reports, concerns have also been raised that it may have to tie up yet another ship, due to debilitating manpower shortages.

RACO, the organisation that represents the country’s military officers, said that despite tying up LÉ Eithne and LÉ Orla last June, the manpower crisis is deepening by the day and “there are concerns that the tying-up of a further ship could be imminent”.

The RACO general secretary, Commandant Conor King, said it is worrying that even the remaining ships “are routinely operating on the edge of the minimum workable crewing numbers”.

He pointed out that LÉ Ciara was on sailing order on December 30, but failed to leave port (as previously reported) until January 1 due to illness/injury of crew members.

More on the story can be found here

Published in Navy

Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!

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