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Displaying items by tag: Leitrim

The third phase of the Shannon Blueway has been opened by Michael Ring, Minister for Rural and Community Development, in the company of Waterways Ireland’s acting chief executive John McDonagh and Leitrim County Council Cathaoirleach Enda McGloin.

The project has created a new path along the shores of Lough Allen linking four tourism businesses to the lock at Blackrock and Drumshanbo town and increasing access for walkers, cyclists and horseriders.

This involved the upgrade of 1km of an existing pathway along the Lough Allen canal between Acres Cove Marina and Drumshanbo Lock at Blackrock, and the installation of a new controlled pedestrian crossing on the R208, the only road crossing on this section.

Car parking for 13 vehicles has also been created, with a new entrance to Drumshanbo Lock at Blackrock and the newly developed Blueway.

The new section of Blueway path runs north from this point along the shores of Lough Allen, and includes a pedestrian bridge across the Millrace River connecting the town with a range of existing amenities.

Funding for the project was obtained by a partnership of Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County Council under the Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure Scheme through the Department of Rural and Community Development.

A total of €340,000 of Outdoor Recreational Infrastructure funding has been match-funded with €86,000 by Waterways Ireland.

Minister Ring said: “I am delighted to launch Phase 3 of the Shannon Blueway here in Leitrim. This will build on the success of Phases 1 and 2 of this project which were supported by my Department and which have brought 100,000 new visitors to this rural area, creating opportunities for business growth, new businesses and jobs.

“Phase 3 links a further four existing business to the Blueway and will be instrumental in increasing the time and money people spend in this area. This has been a wonderful collaborative effort between my Department, Waterways Ireland and Leitrim County Council.”

John McDonagh added: “Blueways are an excellent way of linking the waterways and paths we manage with tourism businesses and recreation clubs providing opportunities for people to experience the outdoors, nature and adventure.”

Waterways Ireland says the Shannon Blueway has proved to be a catalyst for ongoing rural development, social inclusion and job creation, and had so far led to the establishment of eight water-based recreational businesses.

In 2018 alone, 100,000 visitors used the Blueway facilities at Acres Lake, which are utilised for numerous sporting and charitable events, as a community resource and public asset.

The opening in Leitrim comes in the same week as the launch of a new development guide and accreditation scheme for Blueway development on the island of Ireland.

This initiative sees a number of State agencies working in partnership on an all-island basis to see the development of Blueway sites in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland over the coming years.

More information on Blueway development is available HERE.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Rowing: The second annual Lough Rynn Regatta will be held on the lake (Lough Rinn) near Mohill, Co. Leitrim on Saturday. The event is hosted by the Connacht Branch of Rowing Ireland.

The 2,000 metre course has eight lanes and is at top class facility. It was developed by Leitrim County Council. It is very accessible from the North, South and East of Ireland. It has a 1,000 metre area above the start where crews can warm up and a north-south orientation, which should minimise the effect of windy conditions. 

This year’s entry is double that of last year: over 1700 competitors from 40 clubs will take to the water between 8am to 6pm in 107 races.

Free parking will be available at the Lough Rynn Hotel Golf Course Site. The carpark is 1.2km away from the enclosure and two shuttle buses will be provided throughout the day free of charge.

Members of the general public who wish to view this event are very welcome, entrance is free of charge.

Published in Rowing

#Angling - Following the announcement of an €800,000 stimulus package for economic development on Ireland’s waterways, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) has released details of Leitrim’s share to develop angling in Ballinamore.

An award of €100,000 from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs under the REDZ (Rural Economic Development Zone) Initiative will go to improving access to angling in Ballinamore with a view to developing tourism in the Lakelands region, as proposed by Leitrim County Council with support from IFI.

The project involves the development of angling infrastructure at Garadice and Kiltybarden Lakes, venues noted for match angling and currently annual hosts of the World Pairs Angling Championships. The €100,000 grant will upgrade the facilities at these locations to draw other national and international competitions to the area.

The angling facility will also be accessible to wheelchair users and will have a special area dedicated to youth angling.

In total the project will cost around €125,000, with the rest of the funding provided by IFI (€21,200) and Leitrim County Council (€3,800).

Frank Curran, chief executive of Leitrim County Council, said: “We are delighted with the approval of the funding for the Rural Economic Development Zone for Ballinamore and Carrigallen area which is focusing on the angling sector.

“Angling is an extremely important economic driver for this area made possible by the excellent fishing lakes in the locality along with a well-known, international reputation. Ballinamore/Carrigallen has been host to numerous angling competitions such as the World Pairs and the Dutch King of Clubs.

“Leitrim County Council looks forward to working with the local trade and Inland Fisheries Ireland in the delivery of this project in the coming months.”

IFI head of business development Suzanne Campion added: “Our fisheries resource is precious from a recreational and economic viewpoint. We are committed to ensuring that Ireland uses the resource to its best potential in a conservation focused manner and we are delighted to secure this funding for Leitrim.

“Anglers already enjoy the great fishing and beautiful scenery available at Ballinamore and this facility will make access to angling easier and allow the area to cater for several large and international angling competitions.

“Investment in angling development is crucial if we are to help attract visitors to rural areas. We know that angling visitors spend considerable time in an area when they identify with it as an angling destination. Anglers use several services and business in an area when visiting such as accommodation, restaurants, shops as well as boat hire and equipment rental.

“We look forward to working with our partners, Leitrim County Council and the community, in enhancing Ballinamore as a top angling destination.”

The Ballinamore project will form part of IFI’s National Strategy for Angling Development (NSAD), a comprehensive national framework for the development of Ireland’s angling resource.

The strategy aims to deliver a wide-ranging set of investments, innovations and promotions over the coming five years, to ensure that Ireland’s fish stocks and angling infrastructure are protected and enhanced for both their economic value and recreational benefit to the communities and visitors they serve across Ireland.

Published in Angling

#blueway – Minister Heather Humphreys TD, and actor & producer Carrie Crowley joined with over 300 walkers and paddlers to open the Shannon Blueway today in Drumshanbo, Co Leitrim.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Shannon Blueway runs from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick on Shannon. It includes 16.5km of water trail and over 10km of walking routes in three loops. The Shannon Blueway provides a range of recreational leisure activities such as walking, cycling, canoeing, fishing and cruising all linked by the waterways to local towns and villages.
Minister Heather Humphrey's stated "I am delighted to be launching this project here in Leitrim today. The Shannon Blueway has the potential to have a very positive impact on jobs and the regional economy. The Mayo Greenway, which is now in its 4th year of operation, has seen a jump in visitor numbers from 80,000 in 2011 to 300,000 in 2014. That means an extra €5 million was brought into the region. With the market for off road adventure tourism is growing here in Ireland and internationally, Leitrim is in a prime position to benefit from this trend.
The launch of the Blueway will allow local businesses can capitalise on an increase in demand for transport, equipment hire, accommodation and entertainment. I would like to commend Waterways Ireland for this initiative, which I have no doubt will have a very position impact on the region."
Carrie Crowley said "as a self-confessed blow-in to the area, the Shannon, the wonderful countryside and Leitrim people have provided me with a tranquil and inspirational place to work and home away from home .The only problem is, now our secret is out!"
The Shannon Blueway is the first of its kind in Ireland where a myriad of recreational activities have been developed and bundled together as a single or multiple visitor experience and tourism proposition. Waterways Ireland has, using the wonderful waterway assets, developed and built a canoe trail from Drumshanbo through Battlebridge and Leitrim Village to Carrick on Shannon. It has also developed a series of looped walks adjacent to the Lough Allen Canal with plans to expand those walks to Drumshanbo and Carrick on Shannon. At the same time Waterways Ireland is also developing a canoe trail from Leitrim Village along the 63km of the Shannon Erne Waterway with a walking and cycling trail also at an advanced stage of planning.
The Shannon Blueway is being delivered by Waterways Ireland in partnership of the National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim County Council, Leitrim Tourism and Fáilte Ireland.

shannon_blueway_leitrim3.jpg

Minister Heather Humphreys TD, and WI Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone 

Chief Executive Dawn Livingstone confirmed that partnership was the key to delivering the Shannon Blueway "Waterways Ireland has invested significantly in creating world beating facilities and services on the Shannon Navigation. Through our partnership with the National Trails Office, Canoeing Ireland, Leitrim Tourism and Leitrim County Council an outstanding multi-activity product has been built in the Shannon Blueway which is now being packaged by clubs and communities for their recreational activities and companies and organisations for domestic and international tourists. Partnership is key to delivering the future of the Shannon Blueway further into Leitrim, and indeed into Roscommon, Longford and Cavan."
The wider Shannon Blueway of which the Drumshanbo to Carrick on Shannon section is part, is at the heart of access to 100km of paddling area, 6 looped walks: 3 of which are on the canal towpath, two long distance walks and three heritage trails. The Shannon Blueway will ultimately provide access to 14 towns and services with each access point and town within an hours' paddling time.

shannon_blueway_leitrim2.jpg

300 paddlers joined the ShannonBlueway launch

Waterways Ireland and Leitrim Co Co will shortly be examining the possibility of providing a connection from the jetties at Acres Lake to the canal towpaths and also to complete the walking/cycling connection to Carrick-on-Shannon, and up the Shannon-Erne Waterway.

Published in Inland Waterways

#rowing – The first phase of the International Rowing Facility in Lough Rinn, Co Leitrim, with an investment value of €900,000, has been completed and can now cater for rowing and canoeing enthusiasts from north Connaught, Leinster, Northern Ireland and further afield. The new facility was officially launched today by Michael Ring TD, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport with Special Responsibility for Tourism and Sport.

Speaking at the launch of the completion of the first phase Minister Ring TD, said "I'm delighted to be here to officially open the first phase of this project. This project is of considerable importance not only locally but nationally. Our aim was to create a world class facility which is a centre of excellence for the development of water sports in Ireland and we're very proud to have achieved that in the first phase of its development. The local community, visitors and indeed the athletes can now benefit from a unique shared space and enjoy all water activities including rowing, canoeing and fishing."

The facility has developed a 2,000 meter, eight lane facility which will be capable of hosting national and international events as well as acting as a training base for international teams in advance of major competitions.

The €900,000 funding for the project was provided by Leitrim Co. Co., Fáilte Ireland and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. The facility will now enable Leitrim County Council in conjunction with Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club to host teams from Ireland and abroad.

Commenting on the importance of the new rowing facility to Leitrim, Frank Curran, CEO of Leitrim County Council said, "Today's launch really is a milestone for Leitrim, the development of this facility will not only raise the profile of Leitrim in a sporting sense but will also have a considerable impact on the local economy and tourism industry. By its very location, this new facility will be extremely accessible for rowing clubs and teams from Northern Ireland, Dublin and the UK."

The centre is a 162 hectares lake which is 3,000 meters in length and ideally suited for rowing and the development project has seen the creation of an eight-Lane Albano Rowing Course and Anchorage which is multi-functional and adjustable to meet rowing standards as specified by FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d'Aviron). It is also adjustable to meet requirements of International Canoe Federation Canoe Sprint Competition Rules. In addition a launch pontoon and slipway have been developed and an amenity block building has been refurbished to cater for visitors.

Rowers and spectators who visit Leitrim in the future will be well catered for with the four star Lough Rynn Castle Estate and Gardens on the shore of the Lake itself and the vibrant towns of Mohill and Carrick on Shannon only a drive away.

Published in Rowing
Tagged under

#RowingCourse: Deane Public Works from Fermanagh will be awarded the main construction contract for the new rowing course at Lough Rynn in County Leitrim. The specialist work of design, supply and installation of the lanes will sub-contracted to Polaritas, a company from Budapest in Hungary. According to Leitrim County Council, the company have worked on the rowing courses for the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and will work on the installation of the rowing course for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

The design/build contract for Lough Rynn involves the design, supply and installation of an eight-lane Albano Rowing Course to meet FISA (Fédération Internationale des Sociétés d’Aviron) Standards. The course will also be adjustable to meet canoe sprint competition rules of the International Canoe Federation.

The course may be finished by the end of this year.

Published in Rowing

#InlandWaterways - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) marked the completion of an angling development project under the Interreg IVA Cross Border Harnessing Natural Resources Programme in Co Leitrim today (Friday 22 March).

The IFI project incorporated the development of angling facilities at two locations - Acres Lake in Drumshanbo and Herons Shore on Lough Allen - with the aim of harnessing the nature-based tourism potential of the region and fostering cross-border economic development.

IFI upgraded existing car parks and added additional car parking spaces, angler access points, information signage and floating fishing stands.

Speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony, IFI board chair Brendan O’Mahony said: "The essential investment in programmes such as this one ensures the long-term sustainability of angling amenities for Ireland. It increases visitor numbers which in turn provides job opportunities and revenue for local communities.

"It also raises the standard of the angling experience for all levels of angler and ensures that the resource is accessible for all to enjoy”.

O’Mahony also commended the commitment of the drivers of such projects and their vision.

Recognising that the phase completed by IFI is only one part of the overall programme, IFI director Amanda Mooney commented that the fisheries body was "delighted to be given the opportunity to be part of the overall Harnessing Natural Resources Programme" and wished success to partner agencies on their own projects.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Surfing - A young surfer from Kinlough talks to the Leitrim Observer about his experiences taking part in the RTÉ series Big Wave Bootcamp, currently showing Fridays at 5pm on RTÉ Two.

Seventeen-year-old Daniel McGlynn was among eight teenagers who were given just three weeks to become expert surfers under the instruction of American surfing professional Ken Bradshaw.

After an audition process for the reality TV series last summer, McGlynn and his fellow teens were flown half-way round the world to Hawaii. But despite the idyllic surroundings, the group faced a punishing training schedule.

“We were in bed at 9 o’clock and up at 6am. We would then train for at least four hours in the day," says McGlynn. "Everything was so much tougher, the waves could be up to 6ft or 7ft tall, even to paddle out on the surf board was a challenge as the current was so much stronger!"

An occasional surfer for almost a decade, McGlynn says he really stepped up his game under the tutelage of Bradshaw.

"He literally taught us everything he knows about the sport, everything. He also rode the biggest wave ever recorded, a massive 86ft in Oahu, Hawaii.”

The Leitrim Observer has more on the story HERE.

Published in Surfing

#ANGLING - A prize pool of more than £60,000 (€71,500) will be up for grabs at the Lakeland and Inland Waterways Ireland World Pairs Championship, coming to the border counties this September.

Described by the organisers as "a pairs match the type of which has never been seen before", the competition will run from 9-15 September at various locations in Monaghan, Leitrim, Cavan and Fermanagh.

The format of the match is based purely on total weight of the pair of anglers over the four competition days. On the off days there will be further open matches so anglers can make the most of the great fishing available in Ireland during September.

The exact sections and format of the match are yet to be disclosed, as much depends on the numbers of anglers attending - although the prize pool is guaranteed.

Entry per pair is £90 (£45 per angler) with discounts for booking through one of the official travel companies.

"You dont need to be 'venue experts' to win this match," say the organisers, "you just need to be able to catch roach and bream, and there are some massive shoals of them to be found in the lakes and rivers that the event will be staged on."

The organisers add: "Absolutely anyone can enter and you are all in with a chance of winning - while fishing in the beautiful surroundings of the Irish countryside."

For more information, entry forms and travel arrangements, visit the Talk Angling forum or contact Kevin Lockee at 07736 129 627.

Published in Angling

County Leitrim has received a welcome boost with the announcement that a recent round of Government funding will enable the development of an international standard rowing facility on Lough Rinn, near Mohill in the south of the county.

 

The funding which was provided by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport as part of an overall €6 million investment across four projects will enable Leitrim County Council in conjunction with Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club develop a 2,000 metre, six lane facility which will be capable of hosting national and international events as well as acting as a training base for international teams in advance of major competitions.

 

The development of the facility on Lough Rinn is already underway through Leitrim County Council and the facility will become available by April of next year. Once completed the Rowing Facility will be run under the supervision of the Carrick on Shannon Rowing club which is the oldest rowing club in Ireland its foundation dating back to 1836.

 

Commenting on the potential of the new rowing facility, Sinead McDermott, Leitrim Tourism said, “Today’s announcement really is a milestone for Leitrim, the development of this facility will not only raise the profile of Leitrim in a sporting sense but will also have a considerable impact on the local economy and tourism industry. By its very location, this new facility will be extremely accessible for rowing clubs and teams from Northern Ireland, Dublin and the UK.”

 

Anthony Dooley, President of Rowing Ireland echoed this view saying, ''Rowing Ireland believe that the development of Lough Rinn will be a major boost to the development of rowing in the region and will attract rowing people across all age groups and classes both within Ireland and from abroad, having a multi-lane course in such a beautiful and picturesque location will be major draw.”

 

Lough Rinn, a 162 hectares lake which is 3,000 meters in length is ideally suited as a rowing facility and the development project will see the creation of a six lane facility through the placement of pontoons alongside retractable rowing equipment. There will also be a number of spectator points developed with a walkway planned around the entire lake over the next number of years.

 

Outlining the impact the rowing facility will have on the sport, Tony Keane, President of Carrick on Shannon Rowing Club said, “We are thrilled with the awarding of the funding and with the development of the rowing facility. We already have strong links with Clubs across Ireland, Northern Ireland and England and would hope that this facility would enable us to host landmark rowing competitions which would not only increase interest in the sport but also provide a welcome boost to Leitrim.”

 

Rowers and spectators who visit Leitrim in the future will be well catered for with the four star Lough Rynn Castle Hotel on the shore of the Lake itself and the vibrant town of Carrick on Shannon less then fifteen minutes drive.

Published in Rowing
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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