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Displaying items by tag: Donegal

RTÉ News reports that the bodies of a father and son have been recovered from Lough Keel in Co Donegal.

A major search and rescue operation was launched yesterday afternoon (Thursday 18 June) after a report that two people were missing on the lough near Kilmacrenan, north of Letterkenny.

A teenage boy was rescued from the lough and was as of last night receiving treatment, but the bodies of a man in his 50s and his teenage son were recovered in the evening.

Published in News Update
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Two gardaí teamed up with local coastguard volunteers to help refloat a beached dolphin in Co Donegal yesterday (Monday 13 April).

The Garda Review Twitter account shared video of the remarkable rescue at Killahoey Beach as the small group of Good Samaritans worked to carry the stranded marine mammal into swimmable waters.

The Irish Mirror has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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RTÉ News reports that 15 young people were rescued from the sea off Donegal yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 13 August).

Ten were airlifted to hospital in Letterkenny after the group got into difficulty while swimming by the pier at Magheroarty in north-west Donegal, according to the Irish Coast Guard.

Several emergency calls were reportedly made by onlookers at the scene, where the Mulroy coastguard unit and Tory Island ferry Queen of Aran also stood by to assist.

A spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard acknowledged the fortunate outcome, and singled out the crew of the Sligo-based SAR helicopter Rescue 118 “for their efficient response to a difficult challenge”.

Published in Rescue

Creeslough & District Angling Association yesterday (Monday 17 June) opened its new angling facility at Lough na Tooey in North Donegal.

The facility, which was co-funded by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) through its National Strategy for Angling Development, was officially launched by Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for inland fisheries.

The facility at Creeslough is one aspect of a development project delivered by the local angling group which manages a number of salmon and trout fisheries in the area.

This project saw the improvement of angling access and infrastructure across three sites in the area: Lough na Tooey, Glen Lough and the Owencarrow River.

New facilities at Lough na Tooey include a slipway and mooring pontoon, boatshed and car park.

At Glen Lough, a new improved roadway over 1.2km leading to the angling site was constructed, while at Owencarrow, 15 stiles and ladders and 33 fishing stands were erected over 300m of the river bank.

IFI provided funding of over €216,000 with Creeslough & District Angling Association providing match funding of €30,000 to enable the completion of the project.

Minister Canney welcomed the project’s completion, saying: “The new facilities will enable safe and easier access to the fishery for the local community, while also supporting tourism in North Donegal.

“This is a first-class angling site located in a county renowned for its beautiful scenery and superb angling resource. As a result of this project, more local and visiting anglers will be fishing in the area, which in turn will provide both recreational and economic benefits for the community.”

IFI chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne noted that Creeslough & District Angling Association “initiated and delivered these facilities on the ground by taking a collaborative approach and working across their entire fishery to identify where improvements were needed.

“Rural communities are engaging around the angling resource and demand for support continues apace. We look forward to partnering with more clubs and associations on the delivery of fisheries projects and will announce those successful in securing funding from our latest funding call over the coming months.”

Paddy Boyle of the Creeslough & District Angling Association said: “Fishing as a sport and recreation is dependent on the quality of the natural environment around us. Angling clubs have a role as custodians of this wonderful resource, and we owe it to future generations to look after the fish and their habitat.

“This development at Creeslough is proof of what angling clubs can achieve in partnership with local development agencies and Inland Fisheries Ireland. We asked for their help and got it because we presented them with a well thought-out plan for the conservation and development of our fisheries.”

Published in Angling

Just €75,000 is the asking price for two fixer-upper lightest keeper’s cottages on a Donegal island, as BreakingNews.ie reports.

The cottages, which boast six bedrooms between them, are located on Rathlin O’Birne Island, some three nautical miles west of the mainland at Malin Beg.

They stand in the shadow of the island’s lighthouse, one of 53 established around the island of Ireland by renowned engineer George Halpin in the 19th century.

Touted by selling agents DNG Dorrian as a “unique coastal hideaway”, this waterfront property will not be for everyone.

Besides some “substantial” work required to bring the cottages back to liveable condition, the otherwise uninhabited island is not serviced (you’ll have to sort out such modern conveniences as water and sewage and electricity yourself) and is only accessible by boat landing on the shoreline.

The DNG Dorrian listing has much more on the property HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

“Substantial progress” is being made in the recovery of gold bullion from a ship wrecked off Donegal nearly 80 years ago, as RTÉ News reports.

Atlantic Subsea Ventures is involved in the salvage operation at the Empress of Britain, a luxury ocean liner that was requisitioned for the war effort in 1939 and targeted by the Nazis the following year.

A number of such vessels are believed to lie in the depts around Ireland, with one in recent years — the SS Gairsoppa off Galway — giving up a record 48 tonnes of silver bullion seven years ago.

The Empress of Britain, which is believed to hold as much as €500 million in gold bullion, was found in 1995 but its location in deep waters precluded any salvage expedition, until now — thanks to remote-operated technology used in the oil and gas industry.

What’s proving a bigger stumbling block for the salvage company, it says, is Ireland’s 7.5% levy on recovered cargo which must also be held for a year and a day before it can be moved on.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes

Independent.ie reports that a man has died following what appears to be a diving-related incident off the coast of Inishowen in Donegal on Sunday afternoon (12 May).

The man in his 30s was rushed to Letterkenny by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 but it was later confirmed he died in hospital.

Published in Diving
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A Canadian national who died on a diving expedition off Donegal in 2017 was one of two separate diving tragedies in the region within weeks of each other, as RTÉ News reports.

As reported at the time on Afloat.ie, the body of a man in his 60s was recovered on 14 August 2017, two days after he went missing while on a dive to the wreck of the Pinto north of Fanad.

An inquest into the death of Randy McNalley (63) took place yesterday (Wednesday 13 February) at the Coroner’s Court in Letterkenny, which heard that the experienced diver and triathlete died of lack of oxygen — but this was likely the result of a health condition rather than a failure of his equipment.

A separate inquest on the same day dealt with the circumstances surrounding the death of British diver John Allwright (57), who was sucked into a side cave during a ‘swim-through’ of a cavern at Sheephaven Bay on 28 July 2017.

RTÉ News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Diving
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#MalinHead - The local man who died after a boat capsize off Malin Head in Donegal on Tuesday afternoon (17 July) lost his father in the same area four decades ago, it has emerged.

According to the Irish Independent, Gerry ‘Malin’ Doherty drowned close to where his father Paddy ‘Malin’ Doherty perished after slipping into the water from rocks in 1979.

Gerry Doherty and 16-year-old Thomas Weir died on Tuesday after Doherty’s 16ft cabin cruiser lost power and capsized less than 1,000 metres from shore.

Rescuers recovered a third individual in his late 40s — Dessie Keenan, a relative of Weir — who has since been released from hospital.

The Irish Independent has much more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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#Donegal - A man in his 60s and a teenage boy have died after the fishing boat they were on capsized off Malin Head in Donegal yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 17 July).

As Independent.ie reports, it’s believed the vessel got into difficulty just minutes after setting off from Malin Pier, with three on board, around midday.

Tourists staying locally raised the alarm around 4pm after hearing cries for help, and a major search and rescue operation was launched immediately.

The teenager and a man in his 50s — both believed to be from Derry — were swiftly recovered, though the 16-year-old boy later died in hospital. The man in his 50s was also hospitalised and was said to be in a stable condition last night.

The body of the third person, a man in his 60s, was recovered on the shoreline before 6pm. He has been named locally as Gerry Doherty of nearby Carndonagh.

Independent.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update
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Ireland's Offshore Renewable Energy

Because of Ireland's location at the Atlantic edge of the EU, it has more offshore energy potential than most other countries in Europe. The conditions are suitable for the development of the full range of current offshore renewable energy technologies.

Offshore Renewable Energy FAQs

Offshore renewable energy draws on the natural energy provided by wind, wave and tide to convert it into electricity for industry and domestic consumption.

Offshore wind is the most advanced technology, using fixed wind turbines in coastal areas, while floating wind is a developing technology more suited to deeper water. In 2018, offshore wind provided a tiny fraction of global electricity supply, but it is set to expand strongly in the coming decades into a USD 1 trillion business, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). It says that turbines are growing in size and in power capacity, which in turn is "delivering major performance and cost improvements for offshore wind farms".

The global offshore wind market grew nearly 30% per year between 2010 and 2018, according to the IEA, due to rapid technology improvements, It calculated that about 150 new offshore wind projects are in active development around the world. Europe in particular has fostered the technology's development, led by Britain, Germany and Denmark, but China added more capacity than any other country in 2018.

A report for the Irish Wind Energy Assocation (IWEA) by the Carbon Trust – a British government-backed limited company established to accelerate Britain's move to a low carbon economy - says there are currently 14 fixed-bottom wind energy projects, four floating wind projects and one project that has yet to choose a technology at some stage of development in Irish waters. Some of these projects are aiming to build before 2030 to contribute to the 5GW target set by the Irish government, and others are expected to build after 2030. These projects have to secure planning permission, obtain a grid connection and also be successful in a competitive auction in the Renewable Electricity Support Scheme (RESS).

The electricity generated by each turbine is collected by an offshore electricity substation located within the wind farm. Seabed cables connect the offshore substation to an onshore substation on the coast. These cables transport the electricity to land from where it will be used to power homes, farms and businesses around Ireland. The offshore developer works with EirGrid, which operates the national grid, to identify how best to do this and where exactly on the grid the project should connect.

The new Marine Planning and Development Management Bill will create a new streamlined system for planning permission for activity or infrastructure in Irish waters or on the seabed, including offshore wind farms. It is due to be published before the end of 2020 and enacted in 2021.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE.

There are a number of companies aiming to develop offshore wind energy off the Irish coast and some of the larger ones would be ESB, SSE Renewables, Energia, Statkraft and RWE. Is there scope for community involvement in offshore wind? The IWEA says that from the early stages of a project, the wind farm developer "should be engaging with the local community to inform them about the project, answer their questions and listen to their concerns". It says this provides the community with "the opportunity to work with the developer to help shape the final layout and design of the project". Listening to fishing industry concerns, and how fishermen may be affected by survey works, construction and eventual operation of a project is "of particular concern to developers", the IWEA says. It says there will also be a community benefit fund put in place for each project. It says the final details of this will be addressed in the design of the RESS (see below) for offshore wind but it has the potential to be "tens of millions of euro over the 15 years of the RESS contract". The Government is also considering the possibility that communities will be enabled to invest in offshore wind farms though there is "no clarity yet on how this would work", the IWEA says.

Based on current plans, it would amount to around 12 GW of offshore wind energy. However, the IWEA points out that is unlikely that all of the projects planned will be completed. The industry says there is even more significant potential for floating offshore wind off Ireland's west coast and the Programme for Government contains a commitment to develop a long-term plan for at least 30 GW of floating offshore wind in our deeper waters.

There are many different models of turbines. The larger a turbine, the more efficient it is in producing electricity at a good price. In choosing a turbine model the developer will be conscious of this ,but also has to be aware the impact of the turbine on the environment, marine life, biodiversity and visual impact. As a broad rule an offshore wind turbine will have a tip-height of between 165m and 215m tall. However, turbine technology is evolving at a rapid rate with larger more efficient turbines anticipated on the market in the coming years.

 

The Renewable Electricity Support Scheme is designed to support the development of renewable energy projects in Ireland. Under the scheme wind farms and solar farms compete against each other in an auction with the projects which offer power at the lowest price awarded contracts. These contracts provide them with a guaranteed price for their power for 15 years. If they obtain a better price for their electricity on the wholesale market they must return the difference to the consumer.

Yes. The first auction for offshore renewable energy projects is expected to take place in late 2021.

Cost is one difference, and technology is another. Floating wind farm technology is relatively new, but allows use of deeper water. Ireland's 50-metre contour line is the limit for traditional bottom-fixed wind farms, and it is also very close to population centres, which makes visibility of large turbines an issue - hence the attraction of floating structures Do offshore wind farms pose a navigational hazard to shipping? Inshore fishermen do have valid concerns. One of the first steps in identifying a site as a potential location for an offshore wind farm is to identify and assess the level of existing marine activity in the area and this particularly includes shipping. The National Marine Planning Framework aims to create, for the first time, a plan to balance the various kinds of offshore activity with the protection of the Irish marine environment. This is expected to be published before the end of 2020, and will set out clearly where is suitable for offshore renewable energy development and where it is not - due, for example, to shipping movements and safe navigation.

YEnvironmental organisations are concerned about the impact of turbines on bird populations, particularly migrating birds. A Danish scientific study published in 2019 found evidence that larger birds were tending to avoid turbine blades, but said it didn't have sufficient evidence for smaller birds – and cautioned that the cumulative effect of farms could still have an impact on bird movements. A full environmental impact assessment has to be carried out before a developer can apply for planning permission to develop an offshore wind farm. This would include desk-based studies as well as extensive surveys of the population and movements of birds and marine mammals, as well as fish and seabed habitats. If a potential environmental impact is identified the developer must, as part of the planning application, show how the project will be designed in such a way as to avoid the impact or to mitigate against it.

A typical 500 MW offshore wind farm would require an operations and maintenance base which would be on the nearby coast. Such a project would generally create between 80-100 fulltime jobs, according to the IWEA. There would also be a substantial increase to in-direct employment and associated socio-economic benefit to the surrounding area where the operation and maintenance hub is located.

The recent Carbon Trust report for the IWEA, entitled Harnessing our potential, identified significant skills shortages for offshore wind in Ireland across the areas of engineering financial services and logistics. The IWEA says that as Ireland is a relatively new entrant to the offshore wind market, there are "opportunities to develop and implement strategies to address the skills shortages for delivering offshore wind and for Ireland to be a net exporter of human capital and skills to the highly competitive global offshore wind supply chain". Offshore wind requires a diverse workforce with jobs in both transferable (for example from the oil and gas sector) and specialist disciplines across apprenticeships and higher education. IWEA have a training network called the Green Tech Skillnet that facilitates training and networking opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

It is expected that developing the 3.5 GW of offshore wind energy identified in the Government's Climate Action Plan would create around 2,500 jobs in construction and development and around 700 permanent operations and maintenance jobs. The Programme for Government published in 2020 has an enhanced target of 5 GW of offshore wind which would create even more employment. The industry says that in the initial stages, the development of offshore wind energy would create employment in conducting environmental surveys, community engagement and development applications for planning. As a site moves to construction, people with backgrounds in various types of engineering, marine construction and marine transport would be recruited. Once the site is up and running , a project requires a team of turbine technicians, engineers and administrators to ensure the wind farm is fully and properly maintained, as well as crew for the crew transfer vessels transporting workers from shore to the turbines.

The IEA says that today's offshore wind market "doesn't even come close to tapping the full potential – with high-quality resources available in most major markets". It estimates that offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 420 000 Terawatt hours per year (TWh/yr) worldwide – as in more than 18 times the current global electricity demand. One Terawatt is 114 megawatts, and to put it in context, Scotland it has a population a little over 5 million and requires 25 TWh/yr of electrical energy.

Not as advanced as wind, with anchoring a big challenge – given that the most effective wave energy has to be in the most energetic locations, such as the Irish west coast. Britain, Ireland and Portugal are regarded as most advanced in developing wave energy technology. The prize is significant, the industry says, as there are forecasts that varying between 4000TWh/yr to 29500TWh/yr. Europe consumes around 3000TWh/year.

The industry has two main umbrella organisations – the Irish Wind Energy Association, which represents both onshore and offshore wind, and the Marine Renewables Industry Association, which focuses on all types of renewable in the marine environment.

©Afloat 2020

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