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Displaying items by tag: Clare Island

Sailors visiting Mayo’s Clare Island have been reminded that the public water supply is subject to restrictions due to cryptosporidium contamination.

Uisce Éireann says the cryptosporidium issue was detected in June, and a boil water notice issued then “remains in place on the public water supply” for the island in outer Clew Bay.

“Operational and compliance experts from Uisce Éireann and Mayo County Council continue to work to lift the notice as quickly and safely as possible,” it says.

The boil water notice affects about 160 island residents, along with a large number of summer visitors, including sailors.

Uisce Éireann’s Colette Scahill thanked the local community for their cooperation and assured them that a team is working to lift the notice.

“Please be assured that we are working to lift the notice as quickly and safely as possible,” Scahill said.

“ Monitoring of the supply will continue for the month of September, and plans to increase the robustness of the water treatment plant are in progress. The notice will be reviewed again with the HSE at the end of September,” she said.

Water must be boiled for:

  • drinking;
  • drinks made with water;
  • preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating;
  • brushing of teeth;
  • ice making - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges, and make ice from cooled boiled water.
Published in Island News
Tagged under

Mayo’s Clare island has been hit with a “boil water” notice after the detection of cryptosporidium in the public water supply.

The “boil water” notice takes immediate effect, Uisce Éireann (Irish Water) and Mayo Council have said.

This follows consultation with the Health Service Executive (HSE) to protect the health of approximately 160 people on the island’s public water supply scheme.

The two bodies have said they are “working to implement solutions to lift the notice as quickly and as safely as possible in consultation with the HSE”.

Uisce Éireann’s Ger Greally acknowledged the impact of this notice on the community and expressed regret at the inconvenience to those impacted.

Uisce Éireann said that vulnerable customers who have registered with it will receive direct communication on the “boil water” notice, and are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled and cooled.

Water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking;
  • Drinks made with water;
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating;
  • Brushing of teeth;
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.

A map of the affected area is available to view on the supply and service section of water.ie.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

Clare Island’s lighthouse is a “distinctive nautical landmark” on Ireland’s West Coast and it could be yours — for €4.8 million.

Highlighting its scenic views to the land of Oscar-nominated film The Banshees of Inisherin, Christie’s International Real Estate touts the restored waterfront property’s residential and guesthouse opportunities in its private and secure location.

One of the ‘Great Lighthouses of Ireland’, Clare Island Lighthouse dates from 1806 when it was built by Marquis of Sligo and was one of the 13 Irish lights taken over by the Ballast Board in 1810.

The original lighthouse was destroyed by fire in 1816 and a second tower was built two years later, remaining in service until the lighthouse was decommissioned in September 1965.

Since then it has been restored as luxury accommodation comprising the original lighthouse towers, a number of small cottages and converted outbuildings, with walled gardens with a helipad on nearly a hectare of grounds.

Christie’s has more HERE.

Published in Waterfront Property

Irish Water has issued a “boil water” notice with “immediate effect” for residents on Mayo’s Clare Island.

Difficulties with the disinfectant procedure at the Clare Island water treatment plan are said to be the reason for the measure, which relates to about 165 islanders using the public water supply.

“Irish Water’s drinking water compliance and operational experts are working with colleagues in Mayo County Council to resolve the situation with a view to having the notice lifted as quickly as possible,” the agency said.

“In the meantime, all customers of this supply are advised to boil water before use until further notice,” it said.

Irish Water’s asset operations lead Ger Greally acknowledged the impact the measure will have on the community and apologised for the inconvenience to customers.

“We will continue to work closely with Mayo County Council and the HSE to monitor the supply and lift the notice as quickly as it is safe to do so and safeguard the supply for the future,” he said.

The notice will only be lifted once the issue is resolved and in consultation with the Health Service Executive.

Irish Water said that vulnerable customers who have registered with it receive direct communication on the “boil water” notice, and are reminded that the water is safe to consume once boiled.

“Those who have concerns should contact our customer care team on 1800 278 278,” Irish Water said.

Customers can also check by visiting www.water.ie/help/water-quality/ and entering their property’s Eircode in the search bar, it said.

Irish Water advised that water must be boiled for:

  • Drinking
  • Drinks made with water
  • Preparation of salads and similar foods, which are not cooked prior to eating
  • Brushing of teeth
  • Making of ice - discard ice cubes in fridges and freezers and filtered water in fridges. Make ice from cooled boiled water.
Published in Island News
Tagged under

Achill Island RNLI was involved in the medical evacuation of a patient from Clare Island at the weekend.

The volunteer lifeboat crew launched at 9.29 am on Saturday (14 August) under Coxswain Dave Curtis and with five crew members on board. It followed a request from the Irish Coast Guard to assist with the evacuation of a patient from the island. Sea conditions were flat calm at the time and the weather was overcast with some drizzle.

The all-weather lifeboat Sam and Ada Moody arrived at Clare Island at 9.51 am. Four crew members proceeded to go ashore and prepare a safe landing site for the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 118 from Sligo which was also tasked to the scene. The lifeboat crew then assisted the island nurse and the crew of Rescue 118 with transferring the patient to the aircraft before they were airlifted to the hospital.

Speaking after the call out, Achill Island RNLI Coxswain Dave Curtis: ‘We were happy to help and would like to wish the casualty well. We train regularly for situations like this and this call out was a good example of a good inter-agency response from our own volunteers here in Achill and our colleagues in the Irish Coast Guard.’

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

An official confirmation of a new five-year contract for the provision of a subsidised ferry service to Clare Island off Co. Mayo has been welcomed by Deputy Michael Ring.

The €1 million contract has been agreed between the Department of Rural and Community Development and O’Malley Ferries (Clare Island) Ltd. and will provide for four daily return sailings from Clare Island to Roonagh pier on the mainland.

In addition to the core service, the operator will also provide an additional extra weekly ‘fast ferry’ sailing that will be scheduled at the island community’s discretion.

The contract came into effect (yesterday) and the contract cost is estimated to be €1,020,000 over the next five years.

The Connaught Telegraph has more.  

Published in Ferry

Deputy Alan Dillon, Fine Gael Spokesperson on Tourism & Sport, welcomed confirmation from Rural & Community Development Minister, Heather Humphreys TD, that her Department will be increasing daily ferry sailings to Clare Island.

A tender recently issued by her Department only required a minimum of two return services daily. This meant that something as simple as a medical appointment might require an islander having to sacrifice an entire day to travel to the mainland.

The ferry service will now be increased to four return sailings daily, which should prove a real game changer for people living on the island. In addition to increasing tourism opportunities.

More here reports Mayo Advertiser that follows a campaign by islanders to improve the service

Published in Ferry

110 years ago Robert Lloyd Praeger brought a group of eminent European scientists to Clare Island to map the flora, fauna, geology and archaeology of the small, exposed Atlantic island off the coast of Mayo. The Royal Irish Academy’s New Survey of Clare Island, a unique multidisciplinary endeavour that together with Praeger’s first Clare Island Survey provides an invaluable body of research informing future conservation of the natural and built heritage of Ireland and Europe.

In a new book, New Survey of Clare Island. Volume 9: Birds, published on Monday, 17 August to celebrate Heritage Week 2020, the editor Tom Kelly traces the story of the birds from Clare Island.

One of the most dramatic changes has been the arrival on Clare Island of the formidable and spectacular seabird the Great Skua—or Bonxie—which now breeds further south in Ireland than it does in Great Britain. This unexpected change—a species moving south rather than vice versa—at a time of global warming remains to be explained.

Great SkuaA Great Skua Photo: Richard T. Mills

Clare Island became separated from Ireland about 8,000 years ago by rising sea levels brought about by the melting of the massive ice sheets that formed during the last Ice Age. Although this dramatic event would have had a minimal impact on the birds that made the island their home.

The Lapland bunting and the snow bunting probably arrived first, followed by more sedentary species including the rock ptarmigan and gyrfalcon as well as many wildfowl and wading bird species.

In the three millennia that followed the formation of Clare Island, mature woodland developed allowing a woodland bird community to develop.

clare island bird bookThe Clare Island survey

Neolithic man arrived about 4,000yBP (years Before Present). Over the succeeding 3,500 years or so, the woodland element was gradually removed and about 400 years ago the modern agricultural landscape was established. The woodland bird community on Clare Island has become mostly extinct probably because its habitat gradually disappeared over the millennia, In addition, the famines of the early to mid-nineteenth century had an impact on the ecology of the inhabited offshore islands. The abandonment of land as a result of famine, and the peoples who occupied that land, is well known to cause the departure of synanthropic bird species.

Nevertheless, agricultural activity and the expansion of grasslands created opportunities for seed-eating species and ground-nesting forms such as the skylark and meadow pipit and migrants such as the northern wheatear and corncrake, and the extraction of peat created opportunities for wetland species. Well-known species such as the house sparrow, European robin, song thrush and perhaps the barn swallow have colonised the island.

Published in Marine Wildlife

An investment of €525,000 is to be put into four piers and harbours in Co. Mayo.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed announced details of a €3.1m package to assist 10 coastal local authorities undertake and as Afloat previously reported funding to complete 58 developments of harbours repair projects and slipways owned by them.

The package, reports Connaught Telegraph, provides funding for maintenance and repair works in addition to supporting the ongoing development and enhancement of harbour facilities including some marine leisure developments.

The Mayo works announced include Roonagh Pier as Afloat also reported on where provision of a new crane and safety improvement works is to cost €150,000.

For other coastal development works and locations click here. 

Published in Ferry

Clare Island residents and also those on Inishturk, off the west Mayo coastline, are calling on the Irish government for urgent help.

In the past two months 52% (see: January story) of their scheduled ferries have been disrupted due to dangerous conditions at Roonagh Pier, west of Louisburgh.

The pier experiences huge Atlantic swells and can be inaccessible for weeks at a time.

As a result O’Grady’s Clare Island Ferry Co. is forced to sail to Cloughmore in Achill Island, which is a commercial pier, unsuitable for foot passengers.

If the islanders sail to Achill, they then have to travel 50 miles by taxi around Clew Bay to collect their cars which are left at Roonagh.

The situation is causing them huge disruption and unnecessary misery.

More on the story from The Connacht Telegraph.

Published in Ferry
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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