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On Sunday afternoon (21 April), the RNLI Helvick Head was called to rescue three boaters who got into difficulty near Helvick Head, southwest of Dungarvan. The Irish Coast Guard requested the assistance of the volunteer crew who launched their inshore lifeboat into easterly Force 2-3 winds and slight waters.

The lifeboat, with Alan Kelly at the helm and crew members Páidí Breathnach, Catherine Reeves, and Rian Kelly onboard, arrived at the scene at 5:13 pm. Upon assessing the situation, the crew found that the three male casualties were safe and well, all wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE).

As the 20-foot cabin cruiser had sustained mechanical failure, the crew decided to tow it back to Dungarvan harbour. The boats arrived safely back to port at 6:15 pm, thanks to the teamwork of the RNLI Helvick Head volunteers.

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Four boaters in a RIB were rescued by Helvick Head RNLI in County Waterford on Sunday afternoon (7 January) after their boat encountered trouble off the coast of Dungarvan.

The inshore lifeboat was launched into north-east Force 3-4 winds and calm waters, responding to a request from the Irish Coast Guard. The team, led by Alan Kelly and consisting of Páidí Breathnach, Joe Foley and Rian Kelly, arrived at the scene at 2:40 pm and found all the sailors to be safe and well.

The 5.5m rigid inflatable boat had suffered engine failure, and the RNLI team quickly established a tow line and safely brought the boat back to Dungarvan harbour by 4:00 pm.

The Helvick Head Atlantic RNLI lifeboatThe Helvick Head Atlantic RNLI lifeboat

Seán Walsh, the Helvick Head RNLI Launching Authority, reminded boaters to always be prepared before heading out to sea. He emphasized the importance of wearing life jackets and carrying a means of communication and urged anyone in trouble or witnessing someone else in difficulty to call the Coast Guard at 999 or 112.

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Four sailors were rescued by the Helvick Head RNLI on Friday afternoon after they experienced difficulties near Ballinacourty Lighthouse, southeast of Dungarvan.

A member of the public reported the incident to the Irish Coast Guard, who then requested the volunteer crew to launch their inshore lifeboat. The lifeboat, helmed by Joe Foley and with crew members Pat Devereux, Rian Kelly, and Michael Moore onboard, braved westerly Force 2-3 winds and mild seas to reach the scene at 2.30 pm.

Upon arrival, the crew assessed the situation and found the two male and two female casualties to be safe and well, all wearing their personal protective equipment (PPE). However, the 5-metre rigid inflatable boat (RIB) had suffered mechanical failure, prompting the decision to tow it to the nearest safe port. A tow line was established, and the boats safely returned to Helvick Head pier at 3.10 pm.

Nick Hannigan, Helvick Head RNLI Launching Authority, reminded everyone to always be prepared before heading out to sea. "Wear a lifejacket and be sure to carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, don’t hesitate and dial 999 or 112 asking for the Coast Guard," he said.

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Helvick Head RNLI came to the aid of a fisherman on Tuesday afternoon (11 July) after they got into difficulty and needed assistance three miles off Mine Head, southwest of Dungarvan in Co Waterford.

At the request of the Irish Coast Guard, the volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat into westerly Force 2-3 winds and moderately choppy seas.

The lifeboat — helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Catherine Reeves, Jamie Walsh and Críostóir Ó Faoláin onboard — made its way to the scene, arriving at 12.50pm.

The crew assessed the situation and found the male casualty to be safe and well.

File image of Helvick Head RNLI’s inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Helvick HeadFile image of Helvick Head RNLI’s inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Helvick Head

As the 30ft fishing boat had sustained a fouled propeller, it was decided to tow it back to the nearest safe port. A tow line was established, and the lifeboat and fishing boat arrived safely back to Helvick Head pier at 2.25pm.

The fisherman was very appreciative of the service rendered by the Helvick Head RNLI crew and extended his thanks to all involved.

Speaking following the call-out, Kieran Rossiter, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority said: “We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Wear a lifejacket and be sure to carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Helvick Head RNLI was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat yesterday afternoon (Wednesday, 7 June) following a report that two swimmers were in difficulty off Clonea beach.

With moderate seas and Force 4-5 east/north easterly winds, the volunteer crew launched the ‘Robert Armstrong’ lifeboat at 5.22 pm, for the first time this year, following a request by the Irish Coast Guard who had been alerted by a member of the public. 

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Paidi Breathnach, Simon O’Hara and Rian Kelly onboard, made its way to the reported location. On arrival at the scene at 5.27 pm, it materialised the two teenagers had been assisted from the water by another member of the public who was helping at a swim class, highly proficient in the water and wearing a buoyancy aid. 

Helvick Head RNLI inshore lifeboat  was launched for the first time this year Photo: John FoleyHelvick Head RNLI inshore lifeboat  was launched for the first time this year Photo: John Foley

Two of the lifeboat crew were tasked by the Coast Guard with swimming ashore to clear the area, which allowed the Waterford-based Rescue 117 helicopter to land safely. With local Gardai also in attendance, the situation was assessed, the casualties were found to be safe and well; however, as a precaution, they were transferred to hospital for observation.

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October's Helvick Head & Dungarvan RNLI Dinner Dance celebrates 25 years of station reopening on the Waterford coast.

The event takes place on October 22nd at the Park Hotel in Dungarvan. 

Tickets are €50 each, including a four-course meal and live music by Deuces Wild. 

It's been a busy season for the Helvick Head RNLI who were called upon twice on the same weekend as it celebrated the 25th anniversary of its reopening in August.

 

 

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Helvick Head RNLI was requested to launch their inshore lifeboat on Tuesday afternoon, 20 September, following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty off Clonea beach.

With calm seas and Force 2-3 south westerly winds, the volunteer crew launched the ‘Robert Armstrong’ lifeboat at 5.35 pm following a request by the Irish Coast Guard. It followed a report from a member of the public that a swimmer was in difficulty near Ballinclamper, the southern end of Clonea beach.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley and Simon O’Hara onboard, made its way to the reported location arriving on scene at 5.40 pm. However, the lifeboat was stood down as it transpired the male swimmer was snorkelling in the area and did not require any assistance. 

Speaking following the call out, John Condon, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority, said: ‘This call out turned out to be a false alarm with good intent, but we would commend the person who raised the alarm, reporting what they perceived as someone in difficulty. It is always better to be safe than sorry, safety is always our priority.’

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Helvick Head RNLI in Co Waterford was called upon twice on the same weekend as it celebrated the 25th anniversary of its reopening.

The first callout was during a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon (20 August), when lifeboat volunteers were paged at 4.30pm to give onshore assistance to a beachgoer with a leg injury at Helvick Head cove.

The female tourist had sustained a dislocated knee while sitting on the rocks and was supported by a number of crew members until an ambulance arrived.

She was treated on scene by paramedics before being transferred to hospital and later released to recover at home.

A family member visited the station the following day to thank all involved as it materialised that this was not the first time the casualty had encountered the lifeboat services.

Over 20 years ago, she had been one of a number of children cut off by the tide at Faill an Staicin beach and subsequently rescued by the lifeboat crew.

The following day (Sunday 21 August), Helvick Head RNLI were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the reopening of the station with an open day to recognise its relationships with other local emergency services.

While conducting an exercise in front of local crowds, alongside the crews of Naval Service vessel LÉ George Bernard Shaw, the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117 and Youghal RNLI, the volunteer lifeboat was redirected at 3.52pm at the request of the coastguard.

It followed a report that an 18-foot pleasure boat had broken down in Dungarvan Bay.

The lifeboat — helmed by Richard Haines and with crew members Alan Kelly, Pat Devereux and Rian Kelly onboard — made its way to the reported location through choppy waters and Force 3-4 northwesterly winds.

Once on scene, the crew assessed the situation and found the three male casualties to be safe and well. As the boat had sustained engine failure, a decision was made to tow it back to Helvick Head pier.

Speaking following the callout, John Condon, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority said: “The casualties did the right thing by calling for help when they realised they were in difficulty.

“We would remind anyone planning a trip to sea to always go prepared. Wear a lifejacket and be sure to carry a means of communication. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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Helvick Head RNLI went to assist two children today (Tuesday 19 July) at Clonea Beach after they were swept out to sea on an inflatable.

With Force 2-3 north westerly winds and calm seas, the volunteer crew launched their inshore lifeboat at the request of the Irish Coast Guard at 12.17pm 

The lifeboat helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Paidi Breathnach, Cathal Reilly and Pat Devereaux onboard, launched at 12.25pm and headed north of the An Rinn peninsula.

On arrival at the scene, the two casualties had been rescued by the Clonea Beach lifeguard team so the lifeboat crew stood by and monitored the situation until everyone was safely back on shore.

Speaking following the call out, Sean Walsh, Helvick Head RNLI Deputy Launching Authority said: ‘Thankfully all’s well that ends well and we would like to wish the children well and commend the Clonea Beach lifeguard team for their efforts in bringing them to safety.

‘While inflatables can be great fun, we would advise that you don’t take them to the beach as they are not designed for open water and it can take very little breeze for them to be swept out to sea - much quicker than you can swim or paddle back to the shore. Should you get into trouble or see someone else in difficulty, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.

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Courtmacsherry RNLI’s all-weather lifeboat Frederick Storey Cockburn was called out at 10.15pm on Wednesday night (4 May) to join a search off Garrettstown and Garrylucas beaches near the Old Head of Kinsale in West Cork.

Members of the public noticed a person swimming alone offshore, and an item of clothing was located at the beach some time later.

The lifeboat, with a crew of five under coxswain Mark Gannon, was underway within minutes and proceeded in the dark of night to the area of the search.

The lifeboat reached the area within 15 minutes and commenced a detailed search of the waters and coastline alongside the Kinsale RNLI inshore lifeboat and the Old Head/Seven Heads Coast Guard unit. The search was joined later by the Irish Coast Guard’s Waterford-based helicopter Rescue 117.

A thorough search was undertaken using the powerful search lights, night vision and parachute flares from the lifeboat and the heat detection sensors of the helicopter, while the coastguard unit on the water combed the shoreline at Garrettstown and Garrylucas.

At 12.30am, when nothing was located and gardaí had carried out detailed enquiries ashore, the Valentia Coast Guard Marine Co-Ordination Centre called off the search and the lifeboat and the other rescue services returned to their bases.

Brian O’Dwyer, Courtmacsherry RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager said: “It was great to see the fast response of so many of our voluntary crew tonight when their bleepers activated which ensured that we were at the scene very quickly.

“It is so important to call the rescue services at 112 or 999 quickly once any incident like this occurs as the various rescue services are always at the ready 24 hours a day and great credit is due to the concerned people that raised the alarm last night.”

The Courtmacsherry volunteer lifeboat crew involved in this call out were Coxswain Mark Gannon, duty mechanic Dave Philips and crew members Ken Cashman, Peter Nunan, Denis Murphy, Evin O’Sullivan and Dean Hennessey.

Helvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife DuffyHelvick Head RNLI's Atlantic 85 inshore lifeboat | Credit: RNLI/Aoife Duffy

Elsewhere on the same night, Helvick Head RNLI in neighbouring Co Waterford was requested to launch its inshore lifeboat following a report that a swimmer was in difficulty in Dungarvan Harbour.

With calm waters and little to no wind, the volunteer crew launched following the request by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.02pm. It followed a report that a swimmer was in difficulty between the Lookout in Dungarvan Harbour and Cunnigar Point.

The lifeboat, helmed by Alan Kelly and with crew members Joe Foley, Shane Walsh and Paidi Breathnach onboard, made its way to the scene. However, the lifeboat was shortly stood down as it transpired the swimmer wasn’t in difficulty and had reached the shore successfully.

Speaking later, Helvick Head RNLI deputy launching authority Sean Walsh said: “This callout turned out to be a false alarm with good intent but we would commend the person who raised the alarm as we would always much rather launch and find that all is safe and well, than not launch at all.

“On the first official week of summer, we would like to remind people if they are planning on going in the water that Dungarvan Harbour is renowned for its rip currents and can catch even the most experienced swimmers out. If you’re caught in a rip, stay calm, don’t panic. Don’t swim against it but rather parallel to the shore until free of the rip and then make for shore.

“We would also like to remind visitors and people new to our shores that the RNLI has a range of translated safety messages and advice in many languages which are available to download.

“If you do get into difficulty or see somebody in trouble on the water or along the coast, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

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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.

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