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Displaying items by tag: Funding

The Irish Sea ports of Liverpool and Heysham in addition Sheerness (London Medway) all part of the Peel Ports Group, have received funding to enhance measures they have already taken to improve resilience ahead of the UK’s expected departure from the EU on 31 October.

The funding according to Peel Ports Group was announced last month by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

These funds will go towards creating more space for HGV parking and container storage to support smooth trade operations by RORO (roll-on, roll-off) ferries, especially across the Irish Sea. (Afloat adds, Peel Ports also operate the MTL Terminal in Dublin Port.)

The fund comes as part of a £30m government scheme, announced last month, to bolster ports across England and ensure they continue to operate efficiently post-Brexit.

Mark Whitworth, Chief Executive Officer of Peel Ports, said: “We are doing everything we can to help our customers continue delivering import and export trade throughout our port network. This government funding helps us to put in place additional measures to achieve that. Whatever happens after 31 October we are as ready as we can be to facilitate global commerce that will benefit the UK economy.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our world-leading maritime ports are fundamental not only to our success as a global trading nation but also to people’s everyday lives, bringing vital goods into the country. This timely investment will support ports across the country in their work to boost capacity and efficiency, ensuring they’re ready for Brexit and a successful future.”

For information on Peel Ports RoRo services click this link.

Published in Ports & Shipping
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Sailing and rowing are among the beneficiaries of Sport Ireland’s €3 million investment in women in sport announced yesterday (Thursday 6 September).

Rowing Ireland will receive €100,000 over two years, while Irish Sailing and Canoeing Ireland will get a total of €80,000 for 2019 and 2020.

Irish Surfing also figures in the list with a €20,000 total allocation for this year and next, while the Irish Waterski and Wakeboard Federation receives €10,000.

Funding under the relaunched Women in Sport Programme complements the €265,000 allocated to Local Sports Partnerships earlier this year, brining Sport Ireland’s total investment for 2019 and 2020 to €3,277,000.

The announcement follows the publication of Sport Ireland’s new Policy on Women in Sport earlier this year, which identifies four key target areas: Coaching & Officiating, Active Participation, Leadership & Governance, and Visibility.

Speaking at the launch at the Sport Ireland campus in Blanchardstown, Sport Minister Brendan Griffin said: “One of the key objectives of the Government’s National Sports Policy is to increase the number of women and girls participating in sport and to eliminate the participation gradient between men and women.

“While the gender gradient, at 4.5%, is narrower now than at any point over the past 10 years, it is important that this gradient is eliminated altogether.

“Sport Ireland’s new Women in Sport Policy and the re-launched Women in Sport Programme is essential in this regard. I want to pay a particular tribute to our high-profile sportswomen who continue to inspire and encourage thousands of girls and young women throughout Ireland every day to become involved in sport and to stay involved.”

Lynne Cantwell, chair of the Sport Ireland Women in Sport Steering Group, added: “The funding process has seen national governing bodies embrace projects focused on developing leadership opportunities, and pathways to coaching and officiating.

“This holistic approach will lead to a step-change in the landscape for women’s involvement in sport across the board from grassroots to leadership.”

Published in News Update
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Inland Fisheries Ireland has announced a new funding call for 2019 with three funding schemes now open to angling clubs and community groups.

The funding has been made available for fisheries conservation projects and development projects nationwide through the National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD).

Applications are invited from angling clubs, local development associations, tidy towns and others who may be looking to carry out projects.

The 2019 funding call consists of three schemes.

The NSAD Capital Grants Scheme 2019 (€136,000) is aimed specifically at capital improvement works with grants available to groups and individuals looking to improve angling access and infrastructure in their locality.

The Salmon and Sea Trout Rehabilitation, Conservation and Protection Fund focuses on the protection of both salmon and sea trout. It will fund rehabilitation, protection and conservation projects, all of which must focus on salmon or sea trout. This fund replaces the Salmon Conservation Fund and extends it to include both salmon and sea trout with project values starting from €2,000 for awareness projects. The upper limit of €15,000 has been removed.

The Midlands Fisheries Fund (€50,000) will focus on conservation and rehabilitation projects in the midland fisheries permit area. The fund has been created through contributions from the permit income received via the Midlands Fisheries Group permit area.

Sean Canney, Minister of State with responsibility for the inland fisheries sector, said: “Since the inception of the National Strategy for Angling Development, we have invested €3.4 million in fisheries development, protection and conservation projects across the country.

“Progress is being made in the delivery of projects which support vital fisheries conservation and rehabilitation and which enhance Ireland’s angling offering. The fisheries resource should be enjoyed by all and this funding call today once more will help bring angling to the broader community in a conservation focused manner.”

Suzanne Campion of IFI said it looks forward to working with community groups from application to delivery stage on their projects.

“We are already partnering with over a hundred clubs and associations in the delivery of fisheries projects. The commitment of these groups in making a valuable difference to their locality is inspiring.”

For more information about the 2019 funding call, to download an information booklet and to submit an Expression of Interest, visit www.fisheriesireland.ie/funding.

All applicants must apply through the Expression of Interest, which opens today (Tuesday 16 April), to progress to full application. Full applications may be submitted from Monday 20 May with the closing date for applications on Thursday 20 June.

IFI will be hosting information workshops over the coming weeks for those looking for further information or support with the application process:

  • Dublin — Citywest Hotel — Monday 29 April
  • Cavan — Cavan Crystal Hotel — Tuesday 30 April
  • Donegal — Harvey’s Point — Wednesday 1 May
  • Ballina — The Great National Hotel — Thursday 2 May
  • Galway — Maldron Hotel, Oranmore — Friday 3 May
  • Limerick — Maldron Hotel — Tuesday 7 May
  • Tralee — Ballygarry Hotel — Wednesday 8 May
  • Cork City — Rochestown Park Hotel — Thursday 9 May
  • Kilkenny — Ormonde Hotel — Friday 10 May
Published in Angling

Robotics, Internet of Things and data analytics are set to play a key role in Ireland's blue economy, according to the Marine Institute.

The national funding agency for the marine research industry recently awarded financial investments in two marine technology projects led by Xocean and IDS Monitoring.

Louth-based marine technology firm Xocean has been awarded €199,739 in funding over two years to transform marine monitoring and data collection.

The company uses innovative robotics, particularly unmanned vehicles, and IoT technology to monitor and collect data at sea.

Elsewhere, a new smart data buoy project by Clare-based IDS Monitoring will also benefit from a €196,955 funding grant, to develop a new smart buoy for coastal and inshore environmental monitoring.

The new IDS Buoy will make it easier to assemble, deploy and use buoys, as well as reducing purchase costs and maintenance, whilst enhancing the value of the information delivered through the smart buoy.

Recently announced by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine, the industry-led awards support Ireland's Integrated Marine PlanHarnessing Our Ocean Wealth, as well as the national Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021.

“Supporting Irish companies in the marine sector, through research grants, helps to accelerate innovation and drive growth in our blue economy,” said Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan.

“The Marine Institute is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building and research to enable optimal decision making and planning to best leverage our natural marine resources sustainably and efficiently.

“Both advanced technology research projects funded through the Marine Institute have the potential to be globally significant, and present enormous commercial opportunities for these Irish marine enterprises.

“Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans.

“These awards will be carried out with the support of the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 funded by the Irish Government, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.”

Published in News Update

Sail Training Ireland chief executive Daragh Sheridan has hailed the recently announced Government funding for young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to take part in tall ships training voyages as “a hugely positive development for the charity”.

Sheridan added that the funding “will enable [Sail Training Ireland] to offer the life-changing opportunity of sail training voyages to even more young people across the island of Ireland.

“It will also mean that we can expand our inclusion voyages that ensure people of all abilities can participate.

“I believe that the Government decision was positively influenced by the highly respected individuals and organisations who already support us.”

Sheridan also expressed his thanks to Paul Kehoe, Minister of State at Department of Defence, and Finian McGrath, Minister of State for Disability Issues, for their support.|

Published in Tall Ships

Four aquatic sports-related projects will share in the €7 million in grants announced under the Sports Capital Programme (SCP) for schemes previously deemed invalid in 2017 but since corrected.

In Cork, Lee Valley Rowing Club will receive €12,000 for the purchase of rowing boats and oars, while Fingal Rowing Club in north Co Dublin will get €23,000 under is boat and equipment application.

Equipment for junior sailing will get a grant of €18,500 towards its purchase at Dundalk & Carlingford Sailing Club in Co Louth, and Limerick Boat Club’s re-roofing project receives the biggest sum of his cohort of €37,400.

“The Sports Capital Programme remains an essential vehicle for providing suitable sports facilities and equipment to allow as many people participate in sport as possible,” said Sport Minister Shane Ross.

“The grants which we have approved [on Thursday 17 January] will benefit every county and 23 different sports will see improved facilities and equipment. I look forward to announcing grants to many more deserving sports projects later in the year.”

Minister of State Brendan Griffin added: “Since being appointed minister with responsibility for sport, I have had the pleasure of seeing the huge difference that the Sports Capital Programme has made throughout the country.

“I commend the volunteers behind the clubs and groups receiving grants today. They are the lifeblood of sports in Ireland and providing them with the right facilities and equipment is the least we can do to assist them in their roles as coaches, mentors or grounds keepers.”

Under the 2018 SCP, for the first time, applicants who were invalid under the previous round were invited to correct their applications rather than having to make completely fresh applications.

A total of 186 groups took up this opportunity and over 90% of these groups are now getting a grant.

The full list of grants is available on the DTTAS website, as is the list of successful corrected applications for 2018.

Published in News Update

Marine Minister Michael Creed TD has announced that the Marine Institute is to provide 12 marine businesses (in collaboration with five universities) with investment funding totaling €2.4 million over three years.

Read the full allocation of the grant recipients here

The funding is being provided to drive continued innovation in Ireland;s ocean economy, a key requirement of the Marine Institute-led National Marine Research and Innovation Strategy 2017-2021.

The 12 grants of up to €200,000 each, which are being provided to individual companies and company-led consortia, will support novel R&D and the development of new technologies in key growth areas such as marine engineering, renewable energy and the blue bioeconomy.

Minister Creed said: “Ireland’s blue economy continues to grow and develop in line with the targets of the national integrated marine plan, Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth.

“Indigenous small and medium enterprises are identifying new commercial opportunities across a range of marine sectors which can lead to economic growth and new jobs. These industry-led awards provide the opportunity for companies to build their R&D capacity and to innovate towards new products and processes.

“I look forward to seeing the 12 successful companies develop and grow their businesses with the support of this significant public investment funding.”

Marine Institute chief executive Dr Peter Heffernan added: “The Marine Institute is committed to assisting industry-led development through knowledge transfer, capacity building, research and innovation. This investment in industry-led research is a key deliverable of the Marine Institute Strategic Plan 2018-2022: Building Ocean Knowledge, Delivering Ocean Services.

“Job creation in the marine sector is increasing as a result of such investment and Irish marine companies have built an excellent reputation internationally for innovation and best practice. The 12 companies receiving funding through this funding call have demonstrated the demand and capability to fuel further growth through marine research.”

Increased economic growth and job creation from small and medium-sized enterprises based in Ireland is a key component of several national strategies and regional development plans. These awards will be carried out with the support of the Marine Institute under the Marine Research Programme 2014-2020 funded by the Government, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

A diverse range of companies applied to the Marine Institute, following the launch of its industry-led call in May 2018.

Awards have been approved for companies operating in a range of marine sectors including companies such as SolarMarine Energy (€195,465 for a floating solar hybrid energy project), Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions (€199,957 for a morphodynamic study of the Irish Sea), Subsea Micropiles (€199,902 for development of micropile technology in subsea environments), Marine Materials Ltd (€199,816 for its Eureka-SeaWind offshore wind energy project), Exceedence Ltd (€199,532 for its inline gator for aquaculture), w1Da Experience (€198,763 for its marine EcoPowa project) and Resolute Marine (€199,955 for its oscillating wave surge converter design).

Bioresources processing company Bio-marine Ingredients Ltd, was awarded €200,000 for the development of marine functional food to support healthy ageing in older adults, while advanced technologies companies Xocean Ltd (€199,739 for fisheries surveys using ‘swarms’ of unmanned vessels) and IDS Monitoring (€196,275 for its ‘smart buoy’ project), and marine engineering companies Technology from Ideas (€199,960 for the Aquamoor sustainable mooring for shellfish and seaweed) and Ocean Energy (€195,565 for engineering advanced material for marine energy and aquaculture) were also successful in their funding applications.

Published in News Update

Minister of State with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, has announced further details of the new funding approved by Cabinet young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to embark on tall ship training voyages.

Joined by Minister of State with responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, Minister Kehoe announced the provision of a grant of €85,000 in 2019 and again in 2020 which will go towards youth development in Sail Training Ireland’s charitable programme.

The objective of sail training is youth development rather than just teaching people to sail, which the ministers underline as an important distinction.

In 2018, Sail Training Ireland placed 341 young people on sail training vessels, over 90% of whom were from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Sail Training Ireland does not own or operate is own vessels, but charters as required. This is a different model to the state’s previous sail training vessel, the Asgard, which sank off the coast of France in 2008.

Trainees are selected by nominating organisations such as the HSE, Garda Diversion Projects, Tulsa, Irish Wheelchair Association and the Irish Refugee Council. A total of 37 nominating organisations provided trainees for placement in 2018.

Skills such as communication, leadership, confidence and teamwork are all developed when on board a sail training vessel.

Sail Training Ireland also facilitates young people with a disability to avail of the sail training experience. In 2018 over 25% of those placed on voyages were young people with a disability.

In terms of gender balance, of the 341 trainees in 2018, 185 were young men with 156 young women. Trainees have also come from over 25 counties in Ireland which includes five in Northern Ireland.

The new funding for this year and next has the potential to deliver an additional 50 places for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in each of those years.

Speaking at an event onboard the Brian Ború vessel at Poolbeg Yacht Club in Dublin today (Friday 11 January), Minister Kehoe commented: “Many of the young people that will selected for these projects have experienced significant difficulties and hardships in their lives.

“In some instances, the opportunities provided by Sail Training Ireland have allowed young people to turn their lives around.

“I would like to commend the work that Sail Training Ireland has undertaken in recent years and wish them well as we face into a new year.”

Minister McGrath added: “Sail Training Ireland once again have shown their commitment to working with people with a disability and I am delighted to be part of today's event.

"Officials from the Department of Defence are engaging with the chief executive and chairman of Sail Training Ireland to ensure child safeguarding procedures are in place and to finalise appropriate governance and financial requirements, in advance of the grant being paid.

"At the end of two year period, a review of the outputs and outcomes of the expenditure will be undertaken by my department."

Published in Tall Ships

This week sees the announcement of new funding approved by Cabinet for young people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds to have opportunities to embark on tall ship training voyages.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, and Minister of State with Responsibility for Disabilities, Finian McGrath, will launch the new youth development funding in conjunction with Sail Training Ireland from the Brian Ború docked at Poolbeg Yacht & Boat Club in Ringsend tomorrow lunchtime, Friday 11 January.

It’s believed that the new initiative would benefit young people many of whom have been referred to the sailing charity by judges, Garda, Tusla and other groups working with vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

In November, Sail Training Ireland was shortlisted in the National Inclusion Awards, welcoming the news as “recognition of the fact that 86 people or 25% of our trainees [in 2018] had a disability of some kind”.

Published in Tall Ships

Seal Rescue Ireland has been awarded €15,000 in funding for its animal welfare efforts going into 2019.

The Courtown, Co Wexford-based organisation is one of 108 that received funding awards from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine that total a record €2,751,000.

Two other marine wildlife-related recipients were Galway & Claddagh Swan Rescue, which gets €5,500, and the Oiled Wildlife Response Network at Shannon Foynes Port which will get €2,000.

“It gives me great pleasure in awarding this funding, which is the largest ever allocation of funding by my department to animal welfare organisations,” said Minister Michael Creed, who added that “we are very fortunate in Ireland in having a voluntary sector dedicated to animal welfare”.

The Minister acknowledged that the workload for many of these organisations has increased over recent years on account of a number of factors, including the active enforcement of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013.

He also noted the work undertaken by staff in his own Department on animal welfare matters, and stated that he and his officials will continue to work closely with animal welfare groups.

And he reminded the public of the dedicated email address ([email protected]) and helpline (01 607 2379 or Call Save 0761 064 408) in operation in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine for members of the public to report incidents of animal neglect and cruelty.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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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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