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Displaying items by tag: Fintan McCarthy

Ireland’s two world champion crews of 2019 are the Afloat Rowers of the Year. Sanita Puspure defended her title in the women’s single sculls, while Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy proved themselves the best lightweight double in the world.

 Paul O’Donovan’s fortitude, ambition, self-belief and professionalism make him the best male rower to come out of Ireland and one of the greatest sportsmen. Teamed up with his brother, Gary O’Donovan, he led the country to its first Olympic rowing medal in 2016, and the two went on to win World Championship gold in the lightweight double in 2018.

 The year 2019 was different. Gary broke a bone in his wrist early in the year and took months to recover. The competition for the doubles spot with Paul O’Donovan was hot: the picture above shows the winning triallists, Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan just after they crossed the line and secured the coveted gig. They competed in the final World Cup in Rotterdam: in an amazing race with Germany they were beaten for the gold by three hundredths of a second despite having stopped while Paul flipped Fintan’s errant stroke coach back into the boat.

 The World Championship final was – astoundingly – even more dramatic. Paul O’Donovan scoffs at those who say his crews start slowly. The statistics generally back him up. But in Linz-Ottensheim, Paul and Fintan were two and a half seconds down on the field (just over a length) at 500 metres. Italy and Germany looked strong and in command ahead of them. Could the men in green come back and still be there at the end? Even knowing the outcome, the video is a thriller. Through the second quarter, the Ireland unit outpaces every other crew; by 1300 metres they have shot into the lead; they build on that advantage to win by the margin by which they were behind 1500 metres before. As Paul and Fintan chatted to media after the race, Italy’s Pietro Ruta – he of the flowing beard – lay sprawled and virtually motionless in the media area. Silver was his, but his crew had yielded to the all-conquering Irish.

 The World Championships saw the Ireland women’s pair of Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley qualify the boat for the Olympics, the men’s double of Phil Doyle and Ronan Byrne sweep to silver, while Katie O’Brien took the bronze medal in the PR2 pararowing final.

Sanita and Sarah Jane McDonnellSanita (left) with Sarah Jane McDonnell

 Sanita Puspure topped it all. A year in which her competition was curtailed as she spent time with her dying sister Inese became a year in which she showed what a wonderful, inspiring, athlete she can be. The women’s single sculls at the World Championships might well have been all about the comeback story of New Zealand’s Emma Twigg. Self-exiled in order to study, she had paid the price of falling away from competition. Fourth at the Olympic Games in 2016, she roared back in 2019 to win the World Cup regattas in Poznan, Poland and Rotterdam. In the World Championships semi-final, Twigg hung on to Puspure and took second; in the final she blasted out into the lead and held it till the final quarter, only to see Puspure flash past to win well. For Puspure it had been four races, four wins, four demonstrations of her command.

 Sanita Puspure, Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy are the Afloat Rowers of the Year 2019.  

Rower of the Year awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year 2020 will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our champions list grow.

Published in Rower of the Year

#Rowing: Ireland figure strongly in the finalists for the World Rowing Awards 2019. World champions Sanita Puspure, in the single sculls, and the lightweight double of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy are finalists for women’s and men’s crews of the year. Ronan Byrne (21) is one of four finalists for the Filippi Spirit Award for outstanding university rower. Byrne won gold in the single sculls at the European Under-23 Championships just a week after partnering Philip Doyle to silver in the double sculls at the senior World Championships.

 The award ceremony is on November 22nd in London.

Finalists for the 2019 World Rowing Awards

Thomas Keller Medal – for a rower who has had a long and successful rowing career and who has made an outstanding contribution to rowing as a competitor and as a sports personality.

  • ·         Kim Brennan,Australia
  • ·         Ekaterina Karsten,Belarus
  • ·         James Cracknell,Great Britain
  • ·         Pete Reed,Great Britain
  • ·         Andrew Triggs Hodge,Great Britain

Filippi Spirit Award – for a university rower who has demonstrated the core values of rowing in his/her social, academic and sporting life and, through these values, also enabled or inspired exceptional success in other people's lives.

  • ·         Ria Thompson,Australia
  • ·         Jean Maillard,France
  • ·         Ronan Byrne,Ireland
  • ·         Nicholas Perovich,United States

World Rowing Sustainability Award – for an organisation that has implemented an innovative project or initiative delivering a clear and positive sustainability impact.

  • ·         Spring Creek Regeneration Project,Australia
  • ·         2018 World Rowing Coastal Championships,Canada
  • ·         Wintech: Clean air, water and solar power,China
  • ·         Rowers Against Rubbish,Great Britain
  • ·         Developing Environmental Ambassadors,Japan

World Rowing Para-rowing Crew of the Year

  • ·         Kathryn Ross,Australia,Para PR2 Women’s Single Sculls
  • ·         Ellen Buttrick, Giedre Rakauskaite, James Fox, Oliver Stanhope and Erin Wysocki-Jones (coxswain),Great Britain,Para PR3 Mixed Coxed Four  
  • ·         Lauren Rowles and Laurence Whiteley,Great Britain,Para PR2 Mixed Double Sculls  
  • ·         Birgit Skarstein,Norway,Para PR1 Women’s Single Sculls
  • ·         Roman Polianskyi,Ukraine,Para PR1 Men’s Single Sculls

World Rowing Men’s Crew of the Year

  • ·         Zhiyu Liu and Liang Zhang,China,Men’s Double Sculls
  • ·         Valent Sinkovic and Martin Sinkovic,Croatia,Men’s Pair
  • ·         Oliver Zeidler,Germany,Men’s Single Sculls
  • ·         Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy,Ireland,Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls 
  • ·         Dirk Uittenbogaard, Abe Wiersma, Tone Wieten and Koen Metsmakers,The Netherlands,Men’s Quadruple Sculls

World Rowing Women’s Crew of the Year

  • ·         Olympia Aldersey, Katrina Werry, Sarah Hawe and Lucy Stephan,Australia,Women’s Four
  • ·         Yunxia Chen, Ling Zhang, Yang Lyu, Xiaotong Cui,China,Women’s Quadruple Sculls
  • ·         Sanita Puspure,Ireland,Women’s Single Sculls
  • ·         Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle,New Zealand,Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls
  • ·         Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler,New Zealand,Women’s Pair

World Rowing Coach of the Year

  • ·         Bernd Nennhaus,Germany,junior rowing crews         
  • ·         Tom Dyson,Great Britain,Para-rowing coach    
  • ·         Eelco Meenhorst,Netherlands,men’s sculling head coach  
  • ·         Gary Hay,New Zealand,women’s head coach       
  • ·         Johan Flodin,Norway,head coach
Published in Rowing

#Rowing: The two crews which won gold for Ireland at the World Championships, the lightweight men’s double of Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and single sculler Sanita Puspure, are the Afloat Rowers of the Month for August.

 The month was quite extraordinary. The Ireland double of Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne qualified their boat for Tokyo at the World Championships in Linz-Ottensheim and then went on to take silver with an assured, technically impressive, performance in a gripping final; the women’s pair of Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska secured qualification with second in their B Final, eighth overall, well within the 11 places allotted for Tokyo. Along with the two gold-medal boats, this brought the Ireland complement for the Olympic Games to four, a record in the era of boats having to qualify through set competition.

 The Championships had also been a joyful one for Katie O’Brien. She took Ireland’s first medal, a bronze, in the PR2 single sculls on her 23rd birthday.

 Ireland crews came up just short of podium finishes at the Coupe de la Jeunesse and the World Junior Championships. Back in Ireland, the two Coastal Rowing Championships generated fine entries and plenty of excitement.  

Sanita Good Water LG World champion Sanita Puspure in action Photo: Liam Gorman

 The pressure was on Sanita Puspure and the lightweight double in Austria. Puspure’s year was affected by family bereavement. She was defending a title in a keenly-contested category. Looking back, her achievement can seem pre-ordained – it was not. She won her early races by big margins, consigning former Olympic champion Mirka Topinkova Knapkova to a distant second in her quarter-final. And then came the semi-final. Emma Twigg of New Zealand had made no secret of her ambition of ousting her friend from her eminent position. Puspure never let her get the chance, outpacing her in each of the four quarters. The final, on September 1st, would see Twigg try to win from the front. It was desperate stuff, and Puspure, knowing she had the resources to do it, waited her out and rowed through her.

 Nominally, the Ireland lightweight double were defending their title. But this was a new combination, with Fintan McCarthy coming in to partner Paul O’Donovan. The finish of their semi-final was nail-biting, as three boats (Ireland, Germany, Norway) were covered by .69 of a second. In the final the feeling of jeopardy lasted the whole race. Ireland had a poor first quarter, which left them trailing the field, produced a ridiculously good middle thousand in which they passed Germany and Italy, and then gritted it out to take a clearwater win. The exhaustion – physical, mental – of the second-placed Italy crew of Pietro Ruta and Stefano Oppo after the race was affecting. They looked like they could not process what had happened to them.    

Rower of the Month awards: The judging panel is made up of Liam Gorman, rowing correspondent of The Irish Times and David O'Brien, Editor of Afloat magazine. Monthly awards for achievements during the year will appear on afloat.ie. Keep a monthly eye on progress and watch our 2019 champions list grow.

Published in Rower of Month

#Rowing: Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy became the world champions in the lightweight double sculls with an outstanding victory over Germany and Italy here in Linz-Ottensheim.

The men in blue and red and white disputed the lead through the first quarter of the race, with Ireland a length behind in sixth. From there O'Donovan and McCarthy put the foot down. They set the fastest time for the next three quarters, accelerating into the headwind and clawing their way to level and then past their two big rivals.

They kept going right to the end and beat the Italians by just over a length, with Germany taking the bronze.

World Rowing Championshiops, Linz-Ottensheim, Day Seven (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Double - A Final: 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 6:37.28, 2 Italy 6:39.71, 3 Germany 6:41.07.

Women

Four - B Final (First Two book Olympic places for boat): 1 Britain 6:55.08, 2 Canada 6:56.99; 3 China 7:02.28, 4 Ireland Ireland (T Hanlon, E Lambe, A Keogh, E Hegarty) 7:02.71.

Pair - B Final (First Five book Olympic places for boat): 1 Romania 7:18.88, 2 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:20.68.

Lightweight Double Sculls - C Final (Places 13 to 18) 1 China 7:00.82; 5 Ireland (A Casey, D Walsh) 7:10.52.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Ireland's first boat qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games is the lightweight men's double. Fintan McCarthy and Paul O'Donovan won in a thrilling semi-final here in Linz-Ottensmeim to take an A Final place at the World Championships and land a berth for the boat in Tokyo.

This was classic Paul O'Donovan. He gelled with his new partner, McCarthy, to produce a perfectly-judged finish which pushed Germany into second - by 13 hundredths of a second. Norway, like Ireland, had watched Germany and Australia do the early work, then closed on them in the final stages. The Norway crew of Are Strandli and Kris Brun, who were bronze medallists behind Ireland's silver in Rio 2016, produced the fastest finish of all to take third. Australia fell back to fifth.

 All six A Finalists and the eventual winner of the B Final qualify boats for Tokyo 2020.

The Ireland women's pair of Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska will have to make their way through the B Final (placing fifth or better) if they are to qualify the boat for the Olympics. They finished fourth in a hotly-contested semi-final. New Zealand won with a commanding performance; the United States forced their way into second; the battle was joined between Ireland and fast-finishing Italy, who took the crucial third place.

 

World Rowing Championships, Linz-Ottensheim, Austria - Day Five (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Double Sculls - A/B Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 6:13.46, 2 Germany 6:13.59, 3 Norway 6:14.15.

Women

Pair - A/B Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 New Zealand 6:57.92, 2 United States 7:01.78, 3 Italy 7:01.80; 4 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:03.05.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: It was tight at the finish, but Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy qualified for the semi-finals of the lightweight double sculls at the World Championships with a win here in Linz-Ottensheim. Spain held the lead through much of this quarter-final, but Ireland were poised to take them and did in the final quarter. Poland took third.

The women's lightweight double dropped out of the running for a top-three place early on, but kept fighting to the line. They beat Poland in a battle for fourth. They will compete in the C/D Semi-Finals.

World Rowing Championships, Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, Day Four (Irish interest)

Men

Lightweight Double Sculls - Quarter-Final Three - (First Three to A/B Semi-Finals; rest to C/D Semi-Finals): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 6:20.84, 2 Spain 6:22.84, 3 Poland 6:23.72.

Women

Pair - Quarter-Final Two (First Three to A/B Semi-Finals; rest to C/D Semi-Finals): 1 Australia 7:08.74, 2 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:12.51, 3 Italy 7:13.11.

Lightweight Double Sculls - Quarter-Final Three - (First Three to A/B Semi-Finals; rest to C/D Semi-Finals): 4 Ireland (A Casey, D Walsh) 7:07.17.

Pararowing: Women's PR Two Single Sculls, Preliminary Race: 1 Australia (K Ross) 9:24.99; 3 Ireland (K O'Brien) 9:52.13.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Ireland’s Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan won their heat to qualify directly for their quarter-final of the lightweight double sculls at the World Rowing Championships in Austria this morning. The Skibbereen-UCC combination were well in command all through. There was a big surprise in the previous heat. Norway, who took bronze at the Rio Olympics, did not make it directly to the quarter-finals. They were fourth.

World Rowing Championships, Linz, Austria, Day One (Irish interest)

Men

Pair – Heat One (First Four to Quarter-Finals; rest to Repechage): 6 Ireland (M O’Donovan, S O’Driscoll) 6:50.51.

Lightweight Double Sculls – Heat Three (First Three to Quarter-Finals; rest to Repechage): 1 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O’Donovan) 6:28.02

Women

Pair – Heat Four (First Four to Quarter-Finals; rest to Repechage): 2 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:13.30

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy took a second silver medal for Ireland after an extraordinary final of the lightweight double sculls at the World Cup in Rotterdam today.

Ireland took over the lead early and led all the way until they were caught right on the line by Germany - the photo finish showed just .03 of a second between the crews.

The race had a memorable moment in the second quarter. Paul O'Donovan showed great calmness to reach down and grab what looked like the stroke coach of the bowman which had gone over the side to shuck it back in the boat. The incident may have cost the crew time, but they retained their lead from there to the line.

 Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle had earlier sculled really well to take silver in the men's openweight double sculls.

World Cup Regatta, Rotterdam, Day Three (Irish interest)

Men

Double Sculls - A Final: 1 Switzerland 6:41.04, 2 Ireland (P Doyle, R Byrne) 6:41.74, 3 Britain 6:44.95.

Lightweight Double Sculls - A Final: 1 Germany 7:01.59, 2 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 7:01.62, 3 Norway 7:02.26.

Women

Pair - A Final: 1 Australia 7:26.15, 2 New Zealand 7:27.57, 3 Britain 7:40.51; Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:50.08.

Lightweight Double Sculls - B Final (places 7 to 12): 6 Ireland (L Heaphy, D Walsh) 7:45.98.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul O'Donovan and Fintan McCarthy brought the tally of Ireland A Finalists at the World Cup Regatta in Rotterdam to four with a second-placed finish in their semi-final. Germany's Jason Osborne and Jonathan Rommelmann, racing in the favoured lane one were the dominant crew, but the new Ireland lightweight double finished fast, coming to just about a length on the line.

The Ireland women's lightweight double were out in lane six in the revised lane draw in their semi and finished sixth. Lydia Heaphy and Denise Walsh are set for a B Final.

World Cup Regatta, Rotterdam, Day Two (Irish interest; morning session)

Men

Double Sculls - Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Ireland (P Doyle, R Byrne) 6:33.47, 2 Germany 6:36.17, 3 Australia One 6:38.62

Lightweight Double Sculls - Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Germany One 6:42.04, 2 Ireland (F McCarthy, P O'Donovan) 6:43.70, 3 Australia 6:50.80.

Lightweight Single Sculls - Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Slovenia 7:22.30, 2 3 Ireland One (G O'Donovan) 7:25.89, 3 Switzerland 7:27.70; 4 Ireland Two (J McCarthy) 7:34.79.

Women

Pair - Semi-Final One (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 1 Romania One 7:34.61, 2 Ireland (A Crowley, M Dukarska) 7:37.87, 3 Spain 7:39.49.

Lightweight Double Sculls - Semi-Final Two (First Three to A Final; rest to B Final): 6 Ireland (L Heaphy, D Walsh) 7:49.87.

Published in Rowing

#Rowing: Paul O’Donovan will team up with Fintan McCarthy in the lightweight double at the World Cup Regatta in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, from July 12th to 14th. Gary O’Donovan and Jake McCarthy will compete in lightweight singles.

 World and European champion Sanita Puspure will hope to continue her winning run in the single.  Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley form a pair and Denise Walsh and Lydia Heaphy will compete again in the lightweight double, as will Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle in the men’s openweight double.  

Ireland Crews for World Rowing Cup Three, Rotterdam, July 12th to 14th

Men

Double: R Byrne, P Doyle

Lightweight Double: F McCarthy, P O’Donovan

Lightweight Singles: G O’Donovan; J McCarthy

Women

Pair: M Dukarska, A Crowley

Single: S Puspure

Lightweight Double: D Walsh, L Heaphy

Published in Rowing
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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

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