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Displaying items by tag: Inis Mor

Galway Bay FM reports that residents on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands are appealing for tourists and other visitors to stay away for the next fortnight to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo issued a statement saying residents have overwhelmingly voted in favour of limiting travel to or from Inis Mór until Sunday 29 March.

In addition, islanders are asked to avoid travel to and from the mainland for the rest of this month’s containment period.

Galway Bay FM reports that almost €100,000 has been ring-fenced for the completion of coastal protection works on Inis Mór in the Aran Islands.

The works will focus on arresting erosion at the island’s coastal cemetery, which locals fear will bear the brunt of more extreme weather in the future.

The funding comes from a grant of more than €750,000 from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to complete improvement works on a number of the Ireland’s coastal islands.

Besides Inis Mór, the list includes Whiddy Island, Bear Island, Hare Island and Sherkin Island in Co Cork; Inis Bigil, Clare Island and Inishturk in Co Mayo; and Oileán an Bhráighe, Árainn Mhór and Gabhla in Co Donegal.

Published in Coastal Notes

#Skibbereen - TheJournal.ie reports that a 14-year-old boy is in critical condition after he was struck in the head by a boom while yachting off Skibbereen yesterday morning (Saturday 24 June).

The teenager was airlifted to Cork University Hospital by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter Rescue 117, and the latest news from Independent.ie is that his condition was improving.

Elsewhere yesterday, Howth Coast Guard attended a 53-year-old man with serious head injuries sustained while kitesurfing off Sutton in North Co Dublin.

And Shannon’s Rescue 115 was called to Inis Mór in the Aran Islands for the medevac of a woman who suffered spinal injuries while taking part in the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event.

Published in News Update

#CliffDiving - World famous Olympic diver Greg Louganis will attend the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series event in the Aran Islands later this month as the competition’s new sports director, as Galway Bay FM reports.

The five-time world champion and four-time Olympic gold medallist will arrive on the island of Inis Mór ahead of the globe’s cliff diving elite, who make their return to Poll na Péist — also known as the Serpent’s Lair — on the first stop of this year’s world tour, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

All tickets for live spectators have been snapped up for the contest on Saturday 24 June, but the action will be livestreamed online via Red Bull TV.

Published in Island News

While everyone is very relieved and grateful that the crew of the Scottish-owned Ker 39 Inis Mor were saved after their boat sank at the Saltees at the weekend while on passage to Cork for the up-coming ICRA Nationals, there is still a sense of shock that a boat which was a successful veteran of three Round Ireland Races should have gone down so suddenly writes W M Nixon.

Inis Mor is best known in Irish sailing for her years campaigned by the Gouy family of France, who won an RORC Championship with her thanks to their overall win in the 2012 Round Ireland Race. She was always in the frame, as her other two circuits of Ireland notched her a second and a third. And her gallant owners further endeared themselves to the Irish sailing community through being entered for the Round Ireland Race as representing the Clifden Boat Club, as they have a property in Connemara.

Inis Mor was sold to top Scottish skipper Jonathan Anderson, whose own formidable track record at the sharp end of the fleet made the Anderson/Inis Mor equipe’s debut in Cork a keenly-anticipated event. Thus the news of this sinking, apparently caused by a failed toilet seacock with an ingress of water which was not obvious until it was too late to do anything to effectively seal it off, brings a sense of shock, and an added awareness that in a stripped-down racing boat, almost any equipment failure can have cumulative and potentially disastrous effects if not immediately dealt with.

Published in ICRA

#CliffDiving - The Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series returns to Poll na Péist this summer, as the Offaly Express reports.

Also known at the Serpent’s Lair, the spectacular blowhole in the Aran Islands last hosted cliff diving’s top flight in June 2014.

Saturday 24 June will mark the third visit of the global tour to the islands since 2012, and is just one of six stops worldwide in the 2017 competition.

Reigning men’s and women’s champs Gary Hunt from the UK and Australia’s Rhiannan Iffland are expected to lead the cream of the sport to Inis Mór for the first stage of the new season before stops in Portugal, Italy, Texas, Bosnia and Chile.

The Offaly Express has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#AranIslands - The deadlock over Inis Mór’s winter ferry service appears to be over, after the ferry operator agreed to continue absorbing the costs of the council-imposed passenger levy.

According to Galway Bay FM, Island Ferries Teo’s proposal to reduce the levy both retroactively to 2012 and from 2017 onwards has been approved by Galway County Council.

The operator had halted services to the largest of the Aran Islands at the end of November, citing “negative fiscal conditions” that it said were a consequence of the 80c passenger levy.

It’s now emerged that half of the company’s €500,000 debt to the council will be written off, not counting upwards of €450,000 in court costs.

Sailings were restored within days on a temporary basis as talks between the company, Galway County Council and the Department of the Gaeltacht resumed earlier this month.

It’s now expected that winter sailings to and from the island will continue beyond the revised 4 January end date.

Published in Ferry
Tagged under

#AranIslands - Ferry services to the mainland from the largest of the Aran Islands will be suspended till March from tomorrow following a last-ditch effort to extend winter sailings.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Inis Mór residents were guaranteed their ferry till the end of today (Wednesday 30 November) pending a Galway County Council meeting this week to discuss a long-running dispute over passenger levies.

However, ferry operator Island Ferries Teo has now confirmed to Galway Bay FM that it will withdraw the island's winter service to from tomorrow (Thursday 1 December) till 17 March next year, citing “negative fiscal conditions”.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#AranIslands - Inis Mór residents have a guaranteed ferry service for two more weeks pending talks over the operator’s planned withdrawal from the island till spring.

Island Ferries Teo confirmed to Galway Bay FM that services from the Galway mainland to the largest of the Aran Islands would continue till Thursday 1 December, two weeks from today (Thursday 17 November).

That’s two days after Galway county councillors are scheduled to discuss the company’s ongoing dispute over passenger levies on 28 November.

As previously reported in Afloat.ie, the ferry operator intends to suspend its “commercially unsustainable” Inis Mór winter service till mid March next year unless the issue of levies is addressed.

Published in Island News
Tagged under

#AranIslands - “Policy decisions beyond our control” have been cited by Island Ferries Teo for its suspension of services between the mainland and the largest of the Aran Islands from November till next spring, as Galway Bay FM reports.

The move follows a long-running dispute over a council-imposed passenger levy for the non-PSO ferry route to Inis Mór that’s been subject to sharp fare increases over a number of years.

Earlier this year a deal was reached to extend ferry services to the island that were slated to end in January, after a Supreme Court ruling that forced the company to pay landing charges, according to TheJournal.ie.

However, the company now says it has reached an impasse with the Government and Galway County Council and had been left with no course of action other than to suspend the “commercially unsustainable” winter service.

TheJournal.ie has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
Tagged under
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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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