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#RNLI - Enniskillen RNLI is to get a new lifeboat station at its Carrybridge base on Upper Lough Erne, it has emerged.

Planning permission for the new build has been passed by Fermanagh District Council and the RNLI’s tendering process is now underway, with a view for building work to commence in late summer.

Once complete, the modern station - much like the new facility for Castletownbere RNLI that opened recently - will replace the existing temporary accommodation which has housed the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crew for the past 11 years.

In order to facilitate the project, the local community is being asked to help the RNLI raise £60,000 (€70,000) towards the cost, which will help Enniskillen RNLI continue to save lives on Lough Erne.

In 2001, Enniskillen became home to the RNLI’s first inland lifeboat station based on Lower Lough Erne.

Due to the overall size and complexity of the lough and its high leisure usage, the decision was taken by the RNLI in 2002 to base a second lifeboat on the upper lough that would work in conjunction with the original lifeboat station on the lower lough.

With two bases, two inshore lifeboats and two rescue water craft, the station has since proved to be one of the busiest in Ireland.

Last year alone, Enniskillen RNLI launched 46 times bringing 50 people to safety. Some 20 of those services were carried out in the dark while the crew spent 169 service hours on the water.

RNLI divisional operations manager Gareth Morrison said he was delighted that planning had now been approved making way for what will be a purpose-built station in a location close to the lough allowing for an efficient launch.

"In an area that receives over 100 days of heavy rainfall a year, it is hard to believe the volunteer crew based at the upper lough operate from just a temporary facility, partly exposed to the elements," said Morrison.

"The crew has to change in a small, damp, metal container and only has a portaloo and wash basin for their comfort. There is nowhere for the crew to shower or dry after a challenging rescue and nowhere for them to gather and train together during the week.

"We want to build a modern station with full crew facilities with areas for the crew to change and train and space to keep their lifeboat and rescue water craft and lifesaving kit safe."

Enniskillen RNLI lifeboat operations manager Davey Robinson said a new station was what the crew deserved.

"At the moment we are operating out of a temporary facility. It is cramped and there are no showers so the crew cannot warm up after a cold, wet and tiring rescue. A new station will be great for the crew. We are a busy station so it is what they deserve."

He added: "It is always reassuring for locals and visitors alike that the RNLI is here to assist them or help their loved ones when they get into difficulty. We try to act as a safety net on Lough Erne and are here 24 hours a day. But we need the right facilities to do that and this new station will help."

Donations and other assistance with fundraising are welcome. For details contact Tony Hiney, RNLI community fundraising manager, at 087 219 8917 or email [email protected]

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland has advised all masters and users of the Erne system that the channel east of Castle Island near Enniskillen will be closed till Tuesday 11 June to facilitate a number of events on the water.

Mariners are directed to follow the marked navigation channel and signs to the west of Castle Island and proceed at a slow speed and with minimum wash. They should note any advise or instructions given by event organisers when in this section of the navigation.

Public jetties in the vicinity will remain accessible throughout, though some minor restrictions may be in place as and when required. Further information is available from the Lough Erne warden at 028 6632 3004.

Elsewhere, there will also be restricted mooring for masters and owners on the River Shannon at Carrick-on-Shannon to facilitate spectator viewing of the Carrick 400 event.

On Sunday 2 June the quay wall from the downstream face of the town bridge to the floating moorings will be out of bounds for mooring from 7pm till midnight.

In other waterways news, recent water quality testing has shown the harbour at Kilcock on the Royal Canal to now be within normal bathing water standards.

Published in Inland Waterways

Boats from the Erne, the Shannon, the Barrow, the Royal and the Grand Canal in addition to coastal visitors are gathering this week for the Inland Waterways Association 29th Dublin Rally at the Grand Canal Dock.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Pollution - Three dead calves found in a stream that flows into one of Roscommon town's main water sources have been alleged as the source of two outbreaks of the parasitic disease cryptosporidiosis that have seen 13 people treated for stomach-related complaints, as RTÉ News reports.

Council visits to farms in the catchment area of Roscommon's central water supply scheme have since identified 11 cases of poor management of run-off out of 66 occasions.

Residents in Roscommon and Boyle are still being asked to boil all tap water at home until further notice, and have been warned that home filters will not make the water potable.

Published in Inland Waterways

#GrandCanal - Waterways Ireland advises masters and owners of vessels that navigation on the Grand Canal from the mouth of the Tullamore branch line to Kilbeggan Bridge will be restricted from this Tuesday to Thursday 21-23 May.

This is to facilitate ongoing works on the Tullamore boardwalk and bridges.

Vessels that wish to transit through this section of the canal may experience some short delays during this time.

Published in Inland Waterways

#OnTV - Sunday 26 May sees the first of a two-part documentary series on The Secret Life of the Shannon on RTÉ One.

The series will take viewers on a journey along the River Shannon with wildlife cameraman and presenter Colin Stafford Johnson, who spent a year living on the river on a barge, camping on its banks and exploring its tributaries in a traditional canoe.

His quest was to film the natural history of the 340km of the Ireland's longest inland waterway as it has never been seen before - and if the above video is anything to go by, he's done an incredible job.

The Secret Life of the Shannon part of the RTÉ Goes Wild month-long celebration of Ireland's wildlife on television, radio and online.

Episode one will be broadcast on Sunday 26 May at 6.30pm on RTÉ One, with the second episode to follow at the same time on Sunday 2 June.

Published in Maritime TV

#FishKill - Galway Bay FM reports on an investigation into a fish kill discovered in Loughrea Lake yesterday 12 May.

Inland Fisheries Ireland staff have attended the scene after being alerted by the public, discovering some 100 dead perch in the water.

However, it is believed the fish died as a result of a natural phenomenon, as no dead fish of any other species was found.

Such mortalities in the wake of the perch spawning season are not uncommon due to the stresses it puts on the fish, leaving them susceptible to infection.

Published in Inland Waterways

#InlandWaterways - Waterways Ireland advises that water control and boat assistance on the Royal Canal from Lock No 12 to 17 between Kilcock and Dublin (Castleknock) over the summer period will be provided by a full-time Water Patroller with assistance on weekends.

Des Phillips (contact 087 248 5754) will be on duty Monday to Friday from 8.30am till 5pm and on Sundays from 8.30am till 12.30pm.

PJ Massey (contact 087 985 7019) will provide water control and boat assistance on Saturdays from 8.30am till 12.30pm.

On Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 2pm till 6pm, cover will be provided by either Damien McDermott, JJ Brennan or David Whelehan (contact 087 177 8563).

Note that passage through Locks No 16 and 17 may not be possible outside of the hours listed above. Masters should therefore contact the relevant water patroller to arrange assistance through these locks.

Published in Inland Waterways

Waterways Ireland has been advised that protected White-tailed Eagles are present and breeding on Bushy Island, Lough Derg at Mountshannon, a popular boating spot.

To protect and minimise disturbance to nesting White-tailed Eagles in the area, masters of vessels are requested to observe a voluntary exclusion zone by not encroaching within 250m of the island and to proceed directly in and out of Mounsthannon harbour without stopping near the island, particularly between the months of May and August inclusive.

Masters should note that deliberate disturbance to nesting birds is illegal under the Wildlife Act (1976).

 

Published in Inland Waterways

#Angling - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has successfully prosecuted two men for taking more than the legal amount of coarse fish on Lough Derg.

Roman and Vytas Maslauskas, brothers originally from Lithuania but living in Ireland for the last eight years, appeared before Killaloe District Court where they were fined €500 each and were also disqualified from holding a driving licence for a period of six months. Both men have two weeks within which to lodge an appeal.

Last year IFI fisheries officers carried out a surveillance operation on the basis of reports received from both the public and local anglers on Lough Derg. The Maslauskas brothers, who were fishing mainly for perch from a boat, were doing so in manner that did not appear to be for recreational purposes. The anglers were capturing large numbers of fish using rod and line but had the aid of a fish finder on board the boat also.

The two men were apprehended at the lower end of the lake at the slipway in Ballina. Their boat and a large quantity of fishing equipment were seized during the capture. Some 32 perch were also seized, of which eight were over the 25cm size limit for coarse fish. Two vans were used in the operation for transporting the fish and equipment.

In his comments at the end of the case, Judge John Durkan said: “Our inland waters are of the most valuable in Europe and need to be well protected”.

He added that those who abuse them must face serious consequences.

“Protecting our fisheries is never an easy task,” said Minister Fergus O’Dowd, minister with responsibility for inland fisheries, at the outcome of the prosecution. “I commend the work of the Inland Fisheries Ireland staff, the Gardaí and of course the anglers and members of the public who made this prosecution possible.

“Working together you have helped the environment and the potential of Lough Derg to generate a better return economically and socially to the local community.”

IFI describes Lough Derg as “a mixed fishery which holds good stocks of coarse, pike and trout” and “a valuable natural asset to the local economy as it attracts both national and international anglers and visitors”.

IFI Limerick director Amanda Mooney commented that the ruling “sends out a strong message that our wild fish populations must be protected. IFI have invested in multi-lingual angling guides which detail and explain coarse fish by-laws. There is no longer an excuse of not knowing what rules apply.”

Published in Angling
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