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Displaying items by tag: Donegal

#RNLI - Two men who embarked on the first RNLI Station to Station challenge between Bundoran and Arranmore last Saturday (6 April) completed the job in just under 12 hours - raising over €2,000 for both lifeboat stations in the process.

As per their plan reported previously on Afloat.ie, Niall Clancy and James McIntyre both set off from Bundoran Lifeboat Station just after 6am on Saturday morning – Clancy running and McIntyre cycling.

Clancy's route took him through Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town, Mountcharles, Frosses, Glenties, Gweebarra Bridge, Lettermacaward, Dungloe, Burtonport and finally Arranmore Island via a treadmill on the ferry!

He was joined on various legs of the journey by members of the Tir Chonaill Athletic Club who kept his spirits up on the 100km journey from station to station.

Meanwhile, McIntyre and his team from Mullaghmore Triathlon Club and Donegal Bay Cycling Club took off at the same time cycling as far as Lough Eske, where James then made the lonesome journey himself across the Bluestack Mountains, constantly keeping organisers informed of his progress via text message.

Down into Glenties and from there by bike to Portnoo where, with Bundoran RNLI crewman Killian O’Kelly, he kayaked the remaining 22km to Arranmore Island, where both he and Clancy were greeted by the lifeboat crew and the Arranmore Pipe Band.

Speaking on completion of the challenge at Arranmore RNLI Lifeboat Station, Clancy said: "It’s been a long but great day. The weather conditions couldn’t have been any better for both myself and James – though it was very cold this morning leaving Bundoran!

"I’m looking forward to a few weeks off training before I get back into it for the Athlone Half Ironman in August."

McIntyre added: "We’d both like to express our gratitude to everyone who supported us ahead of the challenge and today – particularly those who sponsored us and those who ran and cycled with us today, our support teams, our chefs, the RNLI crews and sponsors Ormston’s Mace Ballyshannon and All Sports Donegal Town."

Shane Smith, volunteer lifeboat press officer for Bundoran RNLI, said: "We are thrilled at the success of the challenge and delighted that over €2,000 has been raised for both stations.

"We are indebted to James and Niall for their selfless support of our charity and would like to thank them sincerely on behalf of both crews."

Elsewhere, a Wexford family who organised a sponsored swim in memory of a loved one and former volunteer have raised a whopping €5,000 for Kilmore Quay RNLI.

The Hayes family presented the cheque to the RNLI at Kilmore Quay lifeboat station recently, funded by a sponsored swim on St Stephen’s Day organised by the family in memory of the late Paddy Hayes, who was a volunteer with the lifeboat.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#Coastguard - The Irish Coast Guard has had a busy first few days of the New Year with a number of incidents around the country, including a dramatic search and rescue incident in Donegal.

Carlow man Cormac Nolan was rescued after falling 200 feet and becoming trapped in a crevasse while walking on the Slieve League cliffs on the north west coast of Donegal on Tuesday 1 January.

The cliffs are among the highest sea cliffs in Europe, and combined with the man's precarious position and the weather conditions at the time, the Sligo-based Irish Coast Guard helicopter was unable to winch the man to safety despite its swift response.

The operation - assisted by the Killybegs coastguard unit, Donegal Mountain Rescue and the Aranmore RNLI lifeboat – proceeded to a cliff descent which itself was hampered due to shingle on the cliffside. 

Search teams eventually reached the casualty after 10:30pm and began the slow process of bringing him back up the cliff, finally doing so around midnight. 

The 28-year-old - who discussed his ordeal on RTÉ Radio's News at One this afternoon - was transported by coastguard helicopter to Sligo General Hospital but no serious injuries were reported.

The Donegal incident was just one of a number of search and rescue taskings received by the Irish Coast Guard over the New Year period, coming after news that the coastguard saved 161 lives last year.

Other incidents included searches for missing persons in Wicklow and Dublin and dispatches to reports of persons in the water in Waterford, Limerick and Louth.

Speaking yesterday, Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds said: “Last year was the busiest ever for the Irish Coast Guard and already in the early days of 2013 we have provided assistance in a number of incidents. 

"I am appealing again to the public that they heed local advice and be aware of weather conditions if walking or hiking along our coastline, particularly during winter time.”

Reynolds continued: “There is safety in numbers, so never be alone while walking along cliff paths if possible. Let somebody know when and where you are going and what time you will be back. Stay well away from the cliff edge, both top and bottom. Don’t attempt to rescue people or pets if they fall over the edge.

"If assistance is required dial 112 and ask for the coastguard. Advice as always from the coastguard is if you do see someone in difficulty in the sea, on the shore, cliffs, lakes or rivers, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.”

Published in Coastguard

#Angling - Judgement in the first module of a High Court trial over a long-running dispute between Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) and local anglers at the Gweebarra fishery has been found in favour of the fisheries agency.

Ms Justice Laffoy delivered her judgement on Wednesday 19 November in the first part of a modular trial sought by IFI "to allow key issues to be determined in this first module with the objective of saving court time and costs".

The first module related to what IFI said are the most important sections of the Donegal fishery (both State and privately owned) that it manages - such as the well-known 'Mayo Pool'.

A key claim by defendants Peadar O'Baoill and others - who are opposed to changes in fishing arrangements introduced by IFI (then the Northern Regional Fisheries Board) in 2007 - was that they had acquired rights to fish freely without permits at the Gweebarra fishery by virtue of angling freely there for many years prior to the regulation changes five years ago.

IFI argued that if such rights were upheld, it would have made the 2007 arrangements "unworkable" as the rod management plan central to the changes was dependent on regulation by issue of permits.

However Ms Justice Laffoy rejected the defendants' claim in this regard, saying: “The reality is that the defendants have not established any right, public, or otherwise, to fish in the freshwater part of the Gweebarra River, including the part thereof the subject of this module.”

The court also determined conclusively that IFI has the right to manage, control and regulate both the State-owned and privately held freshwater sections of the Gweebarra fishery.

In her concluding remarks, the judge urged both parties to resolve their remaining dispute locally and out of court.

Commenting after the trial, IFI repeated its "previously stated position that it has absolutely no wish to be involved in proceedings of this nature and remains committed to the protection of the Gweebarra fishery in its entirety, the public portion of which is a state asset.

"It welcomes any initiative which will allow for sustainable management of the fishery into the future. It is happy therefore to seek to resolve the remainder of the dispute, but such would have to be found in the context of existing legal agreements with other stakeholders."

Published in Angling

#MarineWildlife - Recent hijinks by a group of Irish surfers in 'shark-infested waters' off Donegal have been making the rounds online - but they're not all what they seem.

IrishCentral reports on the video, apparently posted by surfers from Rossnowlagh, which shows the group on a RIB pushing one of their own overboard into the path of an oncoming shark.

Yet despite their reactions, they were never in any danger, as the shark was one of Ireland's harmless giants - a basking shark - who clearly attempts to dodge the dinghy as it approaches.

Indeed, the shark may even have been in more danger from the surfers than they were from it, as the marine species is designated as protected under EU law, which makes it illegal to disturb or harass them.

As reported on Afloat.ie earlier this year, the UK's Shark Trust has published a code of conduct for anyone encountering basking sharks in British or Irish waters - and pushing someone overboard on top of one is definitely absent from the list.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#RNLI - After 43 years working with the ESB, a Co Donegal man has donated €700 – money in lieu of retirement presents – to Bundoran RNLI.

Ballyshannon’s Brendan 'Mannix' Gallagher held his retirement party last Friday 30 November at the Allingham Arms in Bundoran but opted not for presents for himself but donations to Bundoran RNLI.


A crowd of well over 200 people attended the festivities on the night and all were delighted to make a donation to the local volunteer lifeboat service.

Brendan is well known in the area for his fundraising so it came as no surprise to the party goers that he requested donations to the RNLI.

Tony McGowan, Bundoran RNLI lifeboat operations manager, said: "We are very grateful to Brendan and his wife Joan for this thoughtful and generous method of donating to the lifeboat.

"The gesture has raised over €700 for Bundoran RNLI and will go towards the training of our volunteer crew to continue to save lives at sea."

Brendan’s retirement party is not the only local fundraiser for Bundoran RNLI at the moment. Shoppers at Sweeny Todds in Market Square Shopping Centre can purchase their Christmas cards there, and with every sale from the selected range a 50 cent donation will be made to Bundoran RNLI.

Next Sunday 16 December, the Pier Head Hotel in Mullaghmore will hold a charity wax in aid of Bundoran RNLI as part of their Christmas Family Fun Day. And the annual Bundoran Lifeboat Dinner Dance will take place at the Great Northern Hotel on Friday 1 February 2013. Tickets are on sale now from all crew members.

Bundoran RNLI also reminds the public that these are the only fundraisers at present, after reports of a 'bogus Santa' charity collector seen in Bundoran last month.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#RNLI - Lough Swilly RNLI rescued five people onboard a 50ft fishing boat yesterday evening (Sunday 2 December) after the vessel’s engine broke down in Co Donegal.

During what was a nine-hour callout in tough weather conditions, Portrush RNLI also launched to assist the stricken Mary Ellen.



Volunteer crew members from Lough Swilly had been attending a commemoration in Portsalon when they were requested to launch to the boat that had broken down some 10 miles further on, a mile-and-a -half from Fannad Lighthouse.



The all-weather Tyne class lifeboat arrived on scene at 3.15pm where the crew observed a steel crabber with five men onboard. The fishing boat was carrying a load of crab.



Weather conditions at the time were described as blowing gusts of between gale force 5 and 6 up the lough.



The crew pursued to establish a towline and commence the return journey to shore. After towing the vessel for a couple of hours into the dark, the tide began to turn, making the pull more difficult. A relief lifeboat from Lough Swilly and Portrush RNLI were requested to launch to assist.



Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was also on scene in the event that the stricken vessel’s crew would need to be evacuated.



As the boat was being towed up the lough it lost all power and VHF was transferred from the lifeboat for communication.



When Portrush RNLI arrived on scene, the crew assisted with the tow while the Lough Swilly relief lifeboat stood by.



The stricken vessel’s mechanic managed to restart the engine during the tow and the vessel made its way into Rathmullan while the Lough Swilly lifeboat stood by in case it required further assistance.



John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI lifeboat operations manager, paid tribute to the lifeboat crew who arrived back at the station in the early hours of Monday morning.

"This was a long callout in difficult weather conditions and we are glad that we were able to assist this vessel and her crew in making it to shore safely,: he said. 

"This was a testament of the commitment, skill and selfless nature of our volunteers who are always willing to give their time and readily leave the comfort of their homes to face challenging conditions to help people who find themselves in difficulty at sea."

Joe Joyce from the lifeboat crew told BBC News that the nine-hour operation was "an unpleasant experience" but reported that "everybody was safe and well".

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#DIVING - Diver Gus O'Driscoll and four members of the Delta Specialist Diving Club are currently searching the bed of Lough Salt in Donegal for a number of golf balls driven into the water more than 100 years ago by the legendary Old Tom Morris.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that 20 of the golfer's own rubber balls were hit into the lake during an exhibition in 1891. Though worth a shilling a piece at the time, today they are worth a whopping €20,000 each.

The only obstacle in the path of the intrepid divers is the mountain of golf balls they have to sift through to find the exceedingly rare 'gutta perches'.

"There are literally thousands of balls at the bottom of Lough Salt because stopping off to hit golf balls there has been a tradition going back to Morris's time," said O'Driscoll.

If they do strike it lucky, the divers plan to donate their finds to the nearby Rosapenna Golf Club, whose course was designed by Old Tom himself.

Published in Diving

#MCIB - Bilge alarms in compartments below the water line have been recommended for fishing vessels in the official report into the sinking of the FV Amy Jane off Donegal last year.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the six-man crew of the crabber were rescued by coastguard helicopter some 13 miles off Malin Head on the morning of 7 October 2011 after the boat began taking on water overnight.

The vessel had left Greencastle Harbour in the early hours headed out to haul pots from the crab grounds off Malin Head when the crew discovered that the boat was down by the head. The pot store was found to be full of water, and attempts to pump it out made little difference.

The alarm was raised via radio with Malin Head Coast Guard before 9am and Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 was tasked to the scene, lifting all six crew from the stricken vessel by 10.30am.

The report by the Marine Casualty Investigation Board (MCIB) found that corrosion within the Vivier tank system - used to preserve the boat's catch - was the likely source of the breach that led to the vessel taking on water.

Though an unusual thump or bump was noticed by the skipper on watch around 3am, nothing obvious was discovered, and neither the listing at the boat's head nor the flooding of the pot store - which had no bilge alarm - were noticed till after sunrise.

Aside from recommending the installation of bilge alarms for all compartments below the water line on fishing vessels, the report also called for consideration to include survey guidelines for Vivier systems, which are exposed to the same environment as the hull.

The full report on the Amy Jane incident is available to download via the link below.

Published in MCIB

#RNLI - The RNLI has warned the public in Donegal to keep on the lookout after reports that a man in a Santa Claus outfit was falsely claiming to be collecting for the lifeboat charity at the weekend.

A spokesperson for the RNLI told the Donegal Democrat that Gardaí in Bundoran were alerted to a man soliciting donations throughout the popular surf town on Saturday and Sunday.

The RNLI confirmed that it has no collections going at present, though its crew members and volunteers will soon be selling tickets to a fundraising dinner dance in February 2013.

RNLI Bundoran adds:

Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat are today (Monday 19th November) warning members of the public to be aware of a man dressed in a Santa suit claiming to be doing a collection on behalf of the organisation in the local area.

Members of the voluntary organisation were made aware of the character on Sunday evening after a member of the public said that he had called to his house in the West End of the seaside resort. The Gardai were immediately notified and an alert issued to the public via the lifeboat station's social media pages.

Volunteer Fundraiser for Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat, Cormac McGurren said 'this news is particularly disturbing in this day and age and we would encourage anybody who is approached by this man to refuse to hand over any money to him and report him immediately to the local Gardai. Members of the RNLI doing any collection will always be carrying official RNLI branded buckets and wearing official clothing. We will shortly commence selling tickets for our annual dinner dance at the start of February but I can confirm that we currently have no collections operating in the Bundoran & Ballyshannon area'

Lifeboat Press Officer Shane Smyth added 'the RNLI is a very respected and trusted organisation in the area and we are constantly relying on the generosity of locals to keep the service funded year round so that we can save lives at sea. An incident such as this is particularly unhelpful and we would ask people to be vigilant'

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

#COASTGUARD - An MLA for East Londonderry has sought the support of Northern Ireland's Minister of State to protect the Irish Coast Guard station at Malin Head from closure.

Inishowen News reports that the SDLP's John Dallat MLA contacted Mike Penning regarding the threat looming over the Donegal coastguard station, which is the most northerly on the island of Ireland.

Dallat said: “When Mike Penning was Minister for Transport in Westminster he was instrumental in keeping the coastguard station at Bangor, Co Down, open, and he made his judgement on the basis that Bangor had a special working relationship with Malin Head which was critical to ensuring there was a complete coverage of all areas."

“It would be ironic now if Malin Head, which saved Bangor, was itself to be victim of closure. That must not happen and I believe Mr Penning’s support is an important element in this campaign which must not fail."

As reported recently on Afloat.ie, coastal communities in both Donegal and Kerry have been protesting plans to close the stations at Malin Head and Valentia in the wake of a 'value for money' report commissioned by the Republic's Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar.

Coastguard chiefs have criticised the studies conducted by consultants Fisher Associates into the IRCG and the Marine Survey Office.

Inishowen News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
Page 9 of 13

The Irish Coast Guard

The Irish Coast Guard is Ireland's fourth 'Blue Light' service (along with An Garda Síochána, the Ambulance Service and the Fire Service). It provides a nationwide maritime emergency organisation as well as a variety of services to shipping and other government agencies.

The purpose of the Irish Coast Guard is to promote safety and security standards, and by doing so, prevent as far as possible, the loss of life at sea, and on inland waters, mountains and caves, and to provide effective emergency response services and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The Irish Coast Guard has responsibility for Ireland's system of marine communications, surveillance and emergency management in Ireland's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and certain inland waterways.

It is responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue and counter-pollution and ship casualty operations. It also has responsibility for vessel traffic monitoring.

Operations in respect of maritime security, illegal drug trafficking, illegal migration and fisheries enforcement are co-ordinated by other bodies within the Irish Government.

On average, each year, the Irish Coast Guard is expected to:

  • handle 3,000 marine emergencies
  • assist 4,500 people and save about 200 lives
  • task Coast Guard helicopters on missions

The Coast Guard has been around in some form in Ireland since 1908.

Coast Guard helicopters

The Irish Coast Guard has contracted five medium-lift Sikorsky Search and Rescue helicopters deployed at bases in Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo.

The helicopters are designated wheels up from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours and 45 minutes at night. One aircraft is fitted and its crew trained for under slung cargo operations up to 3000kgs and is available on short notice based at Waterford.

These aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains of Ireland (32 counties).

They can also be used for assistance in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and aerial surveillance during daylight hours, lifting and passenger operations and other operations as authorised by the Coast Guard within appropriate regulations.

Irish Coastguard FAQs

The Irish Coast Guard provides nationwide maritime emergency response, while also promoting safety and security standards. It aims to prevent the loss of life at sea, on inland waters, on mountains and in caves; and to safeguard the quality of the marine environment.

The main role of the Irish Coast Guard is to rescue people from danger at sea or on land, to organise immediate medical transport and to assist boats and ships within the country's jurisdiction. It has three marine rescue centres in Dublin, Malin Head, Co Donegal, and Valentia Island, Co Kerry. The Dublin National Maritime Operations centre provides marine search and rescue responses and coordinates the response to marine casualty incidents with the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Yes, effectively, it is the fourth "blue light" service. The Marine Rescue Sub-Centre (MRSC) Valentia is the contact point for the coastal area between Ballycotton, Co Cork and Clifden, Co Galway. At the same time, the MRSC Malin Head covers the area between Clifden and Lough Foyle. Marine Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Dublin covers Carlingford Lough, Co Louth to Ballycotton, Co Cork. Each MRCC/MRSC also broadcasts maritime safety information on VHF and MF radio, including navigational and gale warnings, shipping forecasts, local inshore forecasts, strong wind warnings and small craft warnings.

The Irish Coast Guard handles about 3,000 marine emergencies annually, and assists 4,500 people - saving an estimated 200 lives, according to the Department of Transport. In 2016, Irish Coast Guard helicopters completed 1,000 missions in a single year for the first time.

Yes, Irish Coast Guard helicopters evacuate medical patients from offshore islands to hospital on average about 100 times a year. In September 2017, the Department of Health announced that search and rescue pilots who work 24-hour duties would not be expected to perform any inter-hospital patient transfers. The Air Corps flies the Emergency Aeromedical Service, established in 2012 and using an AW139 twin-engine helicopter. Known by its call sign "Air Corps 112", it airlifted its 3,000th patient in autumn 2020.

The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the British Maritime and Coastguard Agency, which is responsible for the Northern Irish coast.

The Irish Coast Guard is a State-funded service, with both paid management personnel and volunteers, and is under the auspices of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. It is allocated approximately 74 million euro annually in funding, some 85 per cent of which pays for a helicopter contract that costs 60 million euro annually. The overall funding figure is "variable", an Oireachtas committee was told in 2019. Other significant expenditure items include volunteer training exercises, equipment, maintenance, renewal, and information technology.

The Irish Coast Guard has four search and rescue helicopter bases at Dublin, Waterford, Shannon and Sligo, run on a contract worth 50 million euro annually with an additional 10 million euro in costs by CHC Ireland. It provides five medium-lift Sikorsky S-92 helicopters and trained crew. The 44 Irish Coast Guard coastal units with 1,000 volunteers are classed as onshore search units, with 23 of the 44 units having rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) and 17 units having cliff rescue capability. The Irish Coast Guard has 60 buildings in total around the coast, and units have search vehicles fitted with blue lights, all-terrain vehicles or quads, first aid equipment, generators and area lighting, search equipment, marine radios, pyrotechnics and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and Community Rescue Boats Ireland also provide lifeboats and crews to assist in search and rescue. The Irish Coast Guard works closely with the Garda Siochána, National Ambulance Service, Naval Service and Air Corps, Civil Defence, while fishing vessels, ships and other craft at sea offer assistance in search operations.

The helicopters are designated as airborne from initial notification in 15 minutes during daylight hours, and 45 minutes at night. The aircraft respond to emergencies at sea, on inland waterways, offshore islands and mountains and cover the 32 counties. They can also assist in flooding, major inland emergencies, intra-hospital transfers, pollution, and can transport offshore firefighters and ambulance teams. The Irish Coast Guard volunteers units are expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time of departing from the station house in ten minutes from notification during daylight and 20 minutes at night. They are also expected to achieve a 90 per cent response time to the scene of the incident in less than 60 minutes from notification by day and 75 minutes at night, subject to geographical limitations.

Units are managed by an officer-in-charge (three stripes on the uniform) and a deputy officer in charge (two stripes). Each team is trained in search skills, first aid, setting up helicopter landing sites and a range of maritime skills, while certain units are also trained in cliff rescue.

Volunteers receive an allowance for time spent on exercises and call-outs. What is the difference between the Irish Coast Guard and the RNLI? The RNLI is a registered charity which has been saving lives at sea since 1824, and runs a 24/7 volunteer lifeboat service around the British and Irish coasts. It is a declared asset of the British Maritime and Coast Guard Agency and the Irish Coast Guard. Community Rescue Boats Ireland is a community rescue network of volunteers under the auspices of Water Safety Ireland.

No, it does not charge for rescue and nor do the RNLI or Community Rescue Boats Ireland.

The marine rescue centres maintain 19 VHF voice and DSC radio sites around the Irish coastline and a digital paging system. There are two VHF repeater test sites, four MF radio sites and two NAVTEX transmitter sites. Does Ireland have a national search and rescue plan? The first national search and rescue plan was published in July, 2019. It establishes the national framework for the overall development, deployment and improvement of search and rescue services within the Irish Search and Rescue Region and to meet domestic and international commitments. The purpose of the national search and rescue plan is to promote a planned and nationally coordinated search and rescue response to persons in distress at sea, in the air or on land.

Yes, the Irish Coast Guard is responsible for responding to spills of oil and other hazardous substances with the Irish pollution responsibility zone, along with providing an effective response to marine casualties and monitoring or intervening in marine salvage operations. It provides and maintains a 24-hour marine pollution notification at the three marine rescue centres. It coordinates exercises and tests of national and local pollution response plans.

The first Irish Coast Guard volunteer to die on duty was Caitriona Lucas, a highly trained member of the Doolin Coast Guard unit, while assisting in a search for a missing man by the Kilkee unit in September 2016. Six months later, four Irish Coast Guard helicopter crew – Dara Fitzpatrick, Mark Duffy, Paul Ormsby and Ciarán Smith -died when their Sikorsky S-92 struck Blackrock island off the Mayo coast on March 14, 2017. The Dublin-based Rescue 116 crew were providing "top cover" or communications for a medical emergency off the west coast and had been approaching Blacksod to refuel. Up until the five fatalities, the Irish Coast Guard recorded that more than a million "man hours" had been spent on more than 30,000 rescue missions since 1991.

Several investigations were initiated into each incident. The Marine Casualty Investigation Board was critical of the Irish Coast Guard in its final report into the death of Caitriona Lucas, while a separate Health and Safety Authority investigation has been completed, but not published. The Air Accident Investigation Unit final report into the Rescue 116 helicopter crash has not yet been published.

The Irish Coast Guard in its present form dates back to 1991, when the Irish Marine Emergency Service was formed after a campaign initiated by Dr Joan McGinley to improve air/sea rescue services on the west Irish coast. Before Irish independence, the British Admiralty was responsible for a Coast Guard (formerly the Water Guard or Preventative Boat Service) dating back to 1809. The West Coast Search and Rescue Action Committee was initiated with a public meeting in Killybegs, Co Donegal, in 1988 and the group was so effective that a Government report was commissioned, which recommended setting up a new division of the Department of the Marine to run the Marine Rescue Co-Ordination Centre (MRCC), then based at Shannon, along with the existing coast radio service, and coast and cliff rescue. A medium-range helicopter base was established at Shannon within two years. Initially, the base was served by the Air Corps.

The first director of what was then IMES was Capt Liam Kirwan, who had spent 20 years at sea and latterly worked with the Marine Survey Office. Capt Kirwan transformed a poorly funded voluntary coast and cliff rescue service into a trained network of cliff and sea rescue units – largely voluntary, but with paid management. The MRCC was relocated from Shannon to an IMES headquarters at the then Department of the Marine (now Department of Transport) in Leeson Lane, Dublin. The coast radio stations at Valentia, Co Kerry, and Malin Head, Co Donegal, became marine rescue-sub-centres.

The current director is Chris Reynolds, who has been in place since August 2007 and was formerly with the Naval Service. He has been seconded to the head of mission with the EUCAP Somalia - which has a mandate to enhance Somalia's maritime civilian law enforcement capacity – since January 2019.

  • Achill, Co. Mayo
  • Ardmore, Co. Waterford
  • Arklow, Co. Wicklow
  • Ballybunion, Co. Kerry
  • Ballycotton, Co. Cork
  • Ballyglass, Co. Mayo
  • Bonmahon, Co. Waterford
  • Bunbeg, Co. Donegal
  • Carnsore, Co. Wexford
  • Castlefreake, Co. Cork
  • Castletownbere, Co. Cork
  • Cleggan, Co. Galway
  • Clogherhead, Co. Louth
  • Costelloe Bay, Co. Galway
  • Courtown, Co. Wexford
  • Crosshaven, Co. Cork
  • Curracloe, Co. Wexford
  • Dingle, Co. Kerry
  • Doolin, Co. Clare
  • Drogheda, Co. Louth
  • Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Dunmore East, Co. Waterford
  • Fethard, Co. Wexford
  • Glandore, Co. Cork
  • Glenderry, Co. Kerry
  • Goleen, Co. Cork
  • Greencastle, Co. Donegal
  • Greenore, Co. Louth
  • Greystones, Co. Wicklow
  • Guileen, Co. Cork
  • Howth, Co. Dublin
  • Kilkee, Co. Clare
  • Killala, Co. Mayo
  • Killybegs, Co. Donegal
  • Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford
  • Knightstown, Co. Kerry
  • Mulroy, Co. Donegal
  • North Aran, Co. Galway
  • Old Head Of Kinsale, Co. Cork
  • Oysterhaven, Co. Cork
  • Rosslare, Co. Wexford
  • Seven Heads, Co. Cork
  • Skerries, Co. Dublin Summercove, Co. Cork
  • Toe Head, Co. Cork
  • Tory Island, Co. Donegal
  • Tramore, Co. Waterford
  • Waterville, Co. Kerry
  • Westport, Co. Mayo
  • Wicklow
  • Youghal, Co. Cork

Sources: Department of Transport © Afloat 2020

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