In last Friday's This Island Nation, Tom MacSweeney discussed the attempts by management at the Irish Coast Guard to centralise radio operations in Dublin, commenting on the "vital component" of the stations' staff's local knowledge.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he would begin an action plan due in October to deal with issues outlined in a recent 'value for money' report which may require "tough decisions", including the closure of a coastguard radio station at Malin or Valentia.
Donegal TD Charlie McConalogue had already asked the Government for assurances on the future of Malin Head, which he said "has provided and invaluable service for over a century".
But the Sunday Independent has learned that now both stations are earmarked for closure, and reports that the Valentia Save Our Station group is concerned the minister is looking at an "alternative technical solution" by installing coastguard equipment from the west coast in his own constituency in Blanchardstown.
All this is despite the scheduled installation of hundreds and thousands of euro worth of new equipment in the Valentia station, which currently handles two-thirds of all major search and rescue operations annually, according to the Irish Examiner.
The change in plans has come as a surprise, the Examiner says, after similar proposals under the previous government were halted following pressure from backbench TDs.