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Displaying items by tag: Marine

Dublin may have the highest number of cases of Covid-19 infection, but it is least exposed of all Irish counties to the economic impacts, a new report says.

The Atlantic seaboard reliance on tourism and recreation, including the marine sector, and service industries is making it more vulnerable, with Kerry has been identified as the hardest hit, the report by the Northern and Western Regional Assembly says.

It identifies Galway as the city most likely to be severely affected, followed by Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Dublin in that order.

The report bases its information on numbers of commercial units operating in sectors which are likely to be worst affected, including mining and quarrying, construction, non-essential retail and wholesale services, food and accommodation, arts, recreation and entertainment, hairdressing, beauty and fitness.

It notes these are sectors which rely on human interaction and have been forced to close or downsize dramatically, due to social distancing measures. The nature of their business largely prevents them from operating remotely.

The report calculates that Kerry has 53.8 per cent of its commercial units operating in the sectors, and is likely to be hardest hit as a county.

It is followed by Westmeath at 51 per cent, Donegal at 50.6 per cent, Cavan at 50.5 per cent and Clare at 50.4 per cent, the report estimates.

The report says that exposure is “generally lower in more urban-based counties” as “such counties rely more on economic activities that are capable of operating remotely” – as in activities such as finance, ICT and professional and technical services.

It says the county with the lowest “Covid-19 exposure ratio” is Dublin, with 39.4 per cent of its commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected.

It calculates Cork is also cushioned, with 44.4 per cent of its commercial units in worst affected sectors, while Carlow is at 44.7 per cent, Waterford is at 45.8 per cent and Wicklow is at 46 per cent.

It says that in “absolute terms”, Dublin has the highest number of commercial units operating in the most exposed sectors at 14,360 units, followed by Cork at 8,144 units, Galway at 4,253 units, Kerry at 3,263 units and Donegal at three.

It says that Galway city and suburbs have 46.1 per cent of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected, “in line with the corresponding ratio for the State as a whole”

The report for three regional assemblies by economist John Daly was prepared to identify which geographical areas in Ireland are more likely to be exposed to economic disruption caused by the necessary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

It uses information from the GeoDirectory commercial database, as of September 2019.

Analysing the impact on a regional basis, it says the northern and western region has the highest “COVID-19 exposure ratio”, with 48.6 per cent of its commercial units operating in the worst affected sectors.#

The southern region has 47.2 per cent of its commercial units operating in the most affected sectors, while the eastern and midland region has the lowest “COVID-19 exposure ratio” at 43.6 per cent, the report says.

It notes that in absolute terms, the eastern and midland region had the highest number of commercial units operating in the sectors likely to be worst affected at 29,637 units, followed closely by the southern region at 27,583 units and the northern and western region at 16,515 units.

Published in Shannon Estuary

The first people arrived on the shores of this island some 10,000 years ago… according to history …. but as the Irish people of today listen to the campaigning of those who want to be elected as our rulers - those political hopefuls do not prioritise the maritime sphere and, in national debates on television, radio and in the print media, they have not referred to it.

What does that indicate?

That the marine does not rank as a priority matter, even though it is a vital channel of transport, food supply, energy, communication and leisure. You'll have to dig deep to find political manifesto commitments to maritime affairs.

Afloat has done that for you in its assessment of how the main parties perceive maritime matters. The conclusion reached is that: “This island nation still doesn't have a marine policy or a dedicated marine department. It’s a ship of state without a captain or a rudder.”

This is despite some commitments, such as ‘harnessing our ocean wealth..” though that seems to have stalled somewhat.

I actually like the fact that politicians and political parties, even Government Ministers and leaders of industry refer these days to “this island nation” a phrase I can claim some justification for promoting during my years of broadcasting, but I'm getting very fed up with politicians, government and all political parties in this General Election for their attitude towards the marine sphere.

boats tide outIs it because of lacking an outspoken approach that the maritime sphere is neglected?

The third biggest country in Europe, by virtue of our seabed territory of 220 million acres, as I’ve often heard quoted, but as fishermen will tell you, most of that was given away by the Government. That was put well this week by John Nolan, 37 years in the fishing industry and Managing Director of Castletowbere Fishermen’s Co-op, when he said Ireland was wronged, robbed of this huge economic resource and he blames politicians and the Civil Service administration.

The Irish Islands Council – Comhdhail Oilean na hEireann and fishing organisations – have called on election candidates to publicly pledge commitment to the offshore islands and to the fishing industry… but I haven’t heard a single other maritime organisation make any calls, nor speak out as strongly as John Nolan has done…. Is it any wonder then that successive governments got away with removing a dedicated marine department in an island nation and dividing the marine sphere into the responsibilities of six Departments… That was a divide and conquer policy motivated by civil service advice, I was told. It certainly removed a maritime focus at the Cabinet table.

But while politicians can generally be berated for their lack of maritime interest – the maritime sphere – all of it – perhaps needs to look at itself – and to speak out the maritime sector more loudly….

More on the podcast below.

Published in Tom MacSweeney
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A marine garden containing almost 30,000 cubic litres of Atlantic seawater and brimming with sea life from different types of seaweeds to fish species native to Irish waters has been named the overall winner in the concept garden category at Bloom 2019 today. As previously reported by Afloat, the Bord Iascaigh Mhara sponsored garden, Aquamarine, supported by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, was designed by wife and husband team Liat and Oliver Shurmann and highlights the need to protect Ireland’s marine environment against plastic waste.

BIM MARINE GARDEN WINS GOLD AT BLOOMGold Bloom winners - l-r, Tara McCarthy, CEO Bord Bia; Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM; Liat Shurmann; Oliver Shurmann and Gary Graham, Manager Bloom, Bord Bia Photo: Julien Behal

Jim O’Toole, CEO BIM said: “ Marine, human and all other life is contingent upon a marine environment that’s clean and free from pollution and plastics. Every item of plastic that surrounds the garden at Bloom is a real example of marine litter that has been collected by fishermen and members of the wider fishing and seafood industry in Ireland. Sustainability is central to BIM’s strategy and it’s the driving force for men and women working in the seafood industry in Ireland.”

The fish species and water will be returned to the sea when Bloom ends on Monday and all of the materials used in the garden have been either salvaged or recycled and will be reused.

Oliver Shurmann spoke about the design of the marine garden and said: “It’s designed to look like a scientific cross-section of a landscape with layers of plastics visible underneath it. That’s what we [Liat and I] wanted to achieve. We wanted to create an atmosphere and to combine something beautiful with something that was repulsive. This will shock people. Children will see this and wonder, ‘what are we doing?’”

The garden has been designed to highlight the problem of plastics in our oceans as part of the Clean Oceans Initiative that was launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food the Marine, Michael Creed earlier this year.

Catherine Morrison, Sustainability and Certification Manager at BIM, spoke of how the marine garden aims to raise awareness of the impact plastic is having on the marine environment and how fishermen and fish farmers in Ireland are working together to address the problem. She said:

“ It’s hard to quantify how much plastic is in our oceans but the average adult in Ireland uses roughly 60kg of plastic every year, one of the highest rates of any country in the European Union. Not all of the plastic ends up in the oceans, but the plastic that does causes a problem.” 

Aquamarine is open to visitors each day of Bloom from Thursday 30th May until Monday 3rd June.

Published in Fishing
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#Maritime - ‘Safe and sustainable’ marine transport and ‘delivery of emergency management services’ have been made a high level goal in the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport’s Statement of Strategy 2016-2019, published this week.

Identifying Ireland’s maritime sector as “a critical gateway” for trade and tourism, the statement calls for “an efficient and effective competitive ports sector [that] can foster job creation” via trade, infrastructure developments and “opportunities in other areas such as offshore energy, cruise and marine leisure and recreation.”

Reduced ship emissions and safety at sea are also priorities within the Maritime Safety Strategy, which “includes a range of actions to be implemented or begun by 2019” such as flag state and port state regimes, and the IMO’s Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Key services in this strategy include the delivery of a 24/7 marine emergency response and management service by co-ordinating the response to SAR incidents and pollution threats at sea.

Progress on these goals will be monitored by various indicators, such as the transfer of regional ports to local authority control by the end of 2018, the imposition of a new ‘ports performance’ measurement system by the end of 2017, the development of a web portal for SeaSafe Ireland by the middle of next year, as well as a minimum 90% availability of Irish Coast Guard units ahead of “full interoperability” of marine rescue co-ordination by next winter.

The full Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 can be downloaded HERE.

Published in News Update
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A new Tohatsu outboard engine (2.5HP 4-stroke Short Shaft (15") at €726, Mirror dinghy spars for a fiver, a maritime painting of the ARC fleet at €200 by artist Pete Hogan are just a few of the offers currently on Afloat's Marine market.

You can also find a range of charts and cruising guides from Todd Navigation in Belfast, bilge pumps and anchors from O'Sullivan's Marine in County Kerry plus Rick Tomlinson's sailing calendars and a lot more besides. Seller Gary Elisson wants a project boat to do up as a live aboard. 'It must be cheap', he says. Waterford seller Niall Power has a carbon fibre spinnaker pole (3.5 Mtr long) for sale at €700.

Recent section updates now include space for boatyard services such as engine repairs, marina berths, boat hire, sailing school courses, crew and much more. 

Check out the latest items here and list your own items, services and events in Ireland's dedicated maritime marketplace. 

The idea behind the platform is to give focus to the Irish marine market through a definitive portal.

marine marketplaceSome of the latest items on Ireland's marine marketplace. Click for more.

 

Published in Marketplace
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#oceanwealth – Addressing the second 'Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth' Conference today, in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine outlined new economic research that indicates the Government's blueprint for the marine which could deliver more than 29,000 additional jobs and an additional €2.7bn in economic growth by 2020. Downloasd speech below.

Minister Coveney said that "Ireland is now firmly on what I believe is an unstoppable journey of marine expansion. We are experiencing a significant period of 'blue growth' with a 9% increase in growth in Ireland's marine sector over the last five years and the ocean economy now valued at 1.3% of GDP. Today we are building on this progress with the publication of a development framework for the marine sector, coupled with the clear commitment from Government to introduce a marine spatial planning process for the country, which will underpin the achievement of these economic targets as the Harnessing Our Ocean Wealth strategy is implemented."

Ireland's Ocean Economy report and associated research on the downstream impacts of the marine, produced by the Socio Economic Marine Research Unit at the National University of Ireland states that if HOOW targets are met, 29,300 new jobs could be created by 2020, with 16,100 projected to come directly from the marine sector. An additional growth of €2.7bn in the wider economy is also expected.

The report also confirms the current value of the blue economy. In addition to the 18,400 individuals currently directly employed in our marine industries, a further 13,000 are employed indirectly across the wider economy, creating an additional €3.3bn in turnover. For every €100 turnover created from our ocean economy, a further €78 is created indirectly in other sectors.

The Minister encouraged members of the public to attend the Seafest 2015 open day on Saturday in Ringaskiddy "Members of the public will be able to access a state of the art stimulator that is used to train ships' captains and visit seafood cookery demonstrations. They will also be able to experience what it's like to be exposed to hurricane force winds through the BIM Beaufort Scale Hurricane Experience. There will be an extensive seafood fair and cookery demonstrations and multiple other activities on and off the water. This event is free of charge for every age group with lots of family activities planned."

The Conference included contributions from Minister Coveney, Alex White, T.D., Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources; Sean Sherlock, T.D., Minister for Research & Innovation; and Mr Paudie Coffey T.D., Minister of State at the Department of the Environment. Commissioner Karmenu Vella, Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries European Commission and Rt. Hon. Darin King, Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture in the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador also spoke at the Conference.

This second annual Conference which reviewed ongoing progress on implementation of the Government's Integrated Marine Plan (published in 2012) was attended by over 500 delegates from the public and private sector with an involvement in the marine sector.

In concluding his address, Minister Coveney said "I believe that the outlook for the sector is really exciting and the possibilities are endless. The challenge now is to make the marine sector a leading contributor to the Irish economy and to recognise the potential we have as an island nation to be a major player in the sector internationally."

Published in News Update

#chug – The Coal Harbour Users Group (CHUG) is a group that represents the interests of leisure users of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour & Boatyard, and also the interests of the public that use the resource. Consistent with this, CHUG wish to promote marine related leisure and sport activity for the "ordinary person" in the Dun Laoghaire area and in Dublin Bay. During April 2015, CHUG made a submission to the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group relating to the proposed new ships berth within the harbour. Part of the submission suggested development of a Marine Leisure Centre in the area west of the West Pier, and suggested that some of the spoil that would result from proposed harbour dredging be used to reclaim and extend land there to accommodate the development.

Kevin Woods writes that CHUG members have viewed the DLR Draft County Development Plan 2016-2022. In the context of the plan, CHUG make the following comments and requests:

CHUG request that the area immediately west of the West Pier including the area known as "The Gut" be designated for marine pleasure, leisure, sport and education use. The development would principally include:
A public marine leisure centre operated along the lines of a municipal leisure centre. This is detailed below.
A new public slip suitable for use by small boats at all tides. There are few public slipways in the Dublin area, and of those, some are not usable at low tide. An additional slip would improve public accessibility to the water and to Dublin Bay in general.
Additional space for marine leisure use, including for storage and repair of small boats and equipment. This might be provided by land reclamation in the area shaded and marked (1) on the attached map.
While the above development appears to be in line with existing Draft Development Plan SLO 14 and SLO 95, these might be reviewed and revised as appropriate should this be necessary to carry out the above. This might be assisted by introduction a new SLO relating to the area marked (1) west of the West Pier along the lines of the following:
Objective to promote water related leisure, sport, education, training facilities for public use at the coastal fringe in the area know as The Gut to the west of the West Pier that may include the reclamation of land and also the development of a new breakwater projecting westward from the pier side. This proposal would be subject to a feasibility study, including an assessment of any options, access considerations and impact on adjoining users. The feasibility study would include appropriate environmental assessments including any required under the Habitats Directive in co-operation with the relevant agencies.

A Marine Activity Centre might include:
Club facilities - offices, store rooms.
Shared meeting room, training / education room, changing room / showers / WCs.
Drying room for wetsuits,
Diving equipment store room
Compressor room for filling diving cylinders.
Small boat repair workshop
Shelters for persons, equipment
Hardstanding for secure dinghy & rib parking, canoe / kayak, windsurf and paddle board storage, small craft trailer storage.
Car, coach / minibus parking.

The centre might also cater for:
Fishing, birdwatching, and nature related activity, and might be a base from which the following would be organised:
Training in water safety
Transition year and primary schools activities
Beach and marine nature, ecology, and environmental study activity.
Marine related art
Youth club facilities
A new scout den
A marine interpretive centre / marine history and heritage centre

#powerfromthesea – Ireland's marine renewable energy sector could ultimately be worth as much as €9 billion by 2030, and be supporting thousands of jobs on the island, according to Energy Minister Alex White. Speaking at the Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) Industry Day, in Ringaskiddy, Co. Cork, Minister White also said his department's support for research and development in ocean renewables would increase by almost €17 million between 2013 and 2016, bringing it to over €26 million.

Minister White said Ireland had the potential to become the international focal point of the international marine renewable industry. He was in Ringaskiddy to perform the 'topping out' ceremony at the UCC Beaufort Building, which will be the hub of the Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI)from summer 2015. With up to 135 researchers, the Beaufort laboratory will house the world's largest group of marine renewable energy researchers.

Minister White said: "Ireland has a landmass of around 90,000 square kilometres. Our sea area is ten times that size, and it represents one of the best offshore renewable energy resources in the world. The development of Ireland's marine renewable energy sector will contribute to the generation of carbon-free renewable electricity. In the process, it will enhance the security of Ireland's energy supply, deliver green growth, and add to the 47,000 jobs already supported by Ireland's energy sector.

"Over time, the introduction of ocean energy into Ireland's renewables portfolio will result in an indigenous ocean sector with significant economic and employment benefits. You and your industry will be central to making these potential benefits a reality. Exchequer support for ocean research, development and demonstration has been increased. Between 2013 and 2016, €16.8 million was added to my Department's multi-annual ocean energy development budget, bringing the total cumulative funding to €26.3 million."

Minister White quoted the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland, whose recently-published Economic Study for Ocean Energy Development in Ireland found that a fully-developed ocean energy sector could be worth as much as €9 billion, and be sustaining many thousands of jobs on this island, by 2030.

Minister Sean Sherlock in 2013, announced €19 million in SFI funding for MaREI, when he was Minister for Research and Innovation. This was matched by €10.5 million in industry funding.

Published in Power From the Sea

#powerfromthesea – Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources Alex White T.D. welcomed the announcement that the SFI Centre for Marine Renewable Energy Ireland (MaREI) had successfully raised an additional €4.2 million in funding from EU research funds for marine energy activities.

The announcement of the substantial EU funding was made to an audience of more than 130 industry and university representatives involved in a variety of marine energy research projects, attending the MaREI Industry Open Day at the National Maritime College of Ireland in Cork.

"I want to commend MaREI on their success in securing substantial EU support to fund their very important research and development work. It is truly laying the foundations for both the energy system and economic opportunity of the future."

Speaking at the MaREI Industry Open Day, Prof. Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland added, "MaREI is one of twelve SFI Research Centres of excellence and impact in Ireland. Research undertaken at MaREI is positioning Ireland to play a leading role in marine renewable energy research which is an area of significant national strategic importance. In its first year MaREI has delivered on the targets which we have set. I look forward to a successful year ahead for MaREI, in terms of new industry partnerships, leveraging funding and new discoveries that will deliver solutions that can benefit both Irish society and the economy."

Prof. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Director of the MaREI Centre said that "Large and small companies alike are engaging with MaREI across a huge variety of business opportunities from marine robotics and new materials to endure ocean conditions, to offshore wind, wave and marine energy and mooring devices as well as aquaculture and grid technology solutions. The additional funding from the EU will serve to further position MaREI at the forefront of marine renewable research and commercialisation of this research globally."

The industry-academia MaREI Centre comprises over 45 industry partners, including global market leaders in energy, marine technology, software and hardware providers. Academic partners include lead partner University College Cork along with Cork Institute of Technology, University of Limerick, NUI Galway, NUI Maynooth, University College Dublin and the Marine Institute.

"MaREI will directly create companies and jobs and serve as a catalyst for Ireland to establish a safe, sustainable and profitable energy supply for domestic use and for export," said Professor Anita Maguire, Vice-President for Research and Innovation at University College Cork.

Minister Alex White also toured the €15 million UCC Beaufort building, performing the customary "topping out" ceremony, which marks the final phase of building works. Beaufort will house the MaREI centre on its completion in July 2015.

The MaREI Centre initially received government support of €19 million through Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and a further €10.5 million investment from industry partners. The Centre supports job creation in the in marine renewables sector, while also making Ireland an international focus for the marine energy industry. Almost 90 jobs in the field of marine energy and maritime projects were recently announced by Minister for Agriculture, Food, Marine and Defence Simon Coveney, T.D. for the Cork Harbour region, and MaREI is heavily involved in supporting these companies and the related jobs.

Published in Power From the Sea

#budget2014 – The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD today announced details of his Department's 2015 budget. Emphasising that despite the fragile recovery in the economy, he had secured an increase in funding for the first time since 2009. Included in the funding of the Marine sector is the sum of €11.5 million devoted to the new seafood development programme 2015, while a further €11.5 million of capital funding will be invested in fishery harbour capital works, which not only adds value and improvement to these harbours but also contributes heavily to the local economies of the areas concerned. Some €6.3 million is allocated to investments in aquaculture and fish processing projects, while close to €47million is allocated to fund the marketing and development functions of BIM, the research role of the Marine Institute and the regulatory and control functions of the Seafood Protection Authority.

Published in Budget
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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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