#Budget2016 - €93m has been earmarked for Ireland's maritime programme for the next year - a 7% increase on 2015 spending – in the latest Budget announced yesterday (Tuesday 13 October).
Key among the targets of this funding, according to the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS), are maintaining the quality and level of service through the Irish Coast Guard's search and rescue helicopter contract, and helping the Commissioner of Irish Lights transition to a new funding model.
"The Irish Coast Guard service requires a strong resource commitment on the part of the Exchequer," said a statement from the DTTAS yesterday (Tuesday 13 October). "The SAR helicopter has seen a step change in the quality of service on offer and that will remain a priority.
"Future developments in IT will also ensure the coastguard service remains best in class internationally."
The funding rise comes via an 8% increase in the departmental budget, as welcomed by Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe and Minister of State for Tourism Michael Ring yesterday.
Meanwhile, the 14% increase in the Public Service Obligation subvention for transport will be further good news to Aran Islands residents, coming after Aer Arann reached an agreement with the Government to extend its contract till the end of September next year, according to Galway Bay FM.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Marine and Defence Minister Simon Coveney also welcomed the €904 million allocation to defence funding for 2016 to facilitate the implementation of the department's White Paper proposals – which includes the commissioning of three new patrol ships.