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Displaying items by tag: canoeing

Canoeing's Team Ireland is just home after a European Championships full of tight margins and near misses. An event that truly showed the cruel nature of sport with three incredibly near misses for Olympic Qualifications.

Amid the near misses, there was no shortage of fantastic performances to make these near misses possible, setting up what promises to be a very exciting season of racing for Canoeing Ireland.

The international season for Canoe Slalom got underway on May 6th with the 2021 European Canoe Slalom Championships. Not only an elite level championship this event also acted as the European Continental Olympic Qualifier, with a single Olympic spot up for grabs in each of the 4 categories being contested at the event.

Noel Hendrick competing in the K1 Men divisionNoel Hendrick competing in the K1 Men division

The newly selected Irish Team was filled with proven international performers eager to get into the fight for the final Olympic berths for Tokyo.

The key categories in which Team Ireland was chasing qualification were the K1 Men (Samuel Curtis, Noel Hendrick and Alistair McCreery), the K1 Women (Hannah Craig and Madison Corcoran) and the C1 Women (Michaela Corcoran).

Across all the racing in these categories the tightest by far was seen in the K1 Men, with the Olympic spot coming down to the wire between Noel Hendrick and Krysztof Majerczak of Poland. After a great performance in the qualification rounds Noel Hendrick rose again to the occasion with an even more impressive run the in the semi-finals, laying down a marker for the remaining athletes seeking Olympic qualification to chase.

Athlete after athlete in contention for the Tokyo spot came down and finished behind Noel in the standings, with the agonising wait coming to a close with Majerczak of Poland, the last athlete in the running for the Olympic berth, storming down the course to claim the qualification spot. While the ultimate goal of the Olympic games was not reached, it was nonetheless an extremely impressive performance from the young athlete, making a statement as to his current and future form.

In the Olympic battle for the K1 Women it was the experience of Hannah Craig (London 2012 Olympian) that came closest for Ireland. With Hannah's final placing of 32nd being just 0.8 seconds away from a spot in the semi final, and a chance to race against Naemi Braendle of Switzerland for the final qualification spot.

The C1 Women featured a similar story, with Michaela Corcoran incurring a 50-second penalty to take her out of the running for the Olympic spot in her category.
Outside of the Olympic qualification battle, Irelands already confirmed 2021 Olympian Liam Jegou was top of Irelands C1 Men. Liam showed his hard winter of training with a 10th place in the qualification rounds, going on to suffer penalties in the semi-final to finish in 30th overall for the event. The C1 Men team also put up a valiant fight to defend their silver medal from last years Euros, finishing in 5th place in the final, just one 2 second penalty away from a spot on the podium.


2021 Canoe Slalom European Championships & Olympic Qualifier Full results

K1 Men
Noel Hendrick - 24th Alistair McCreery - 37th Samuel Curtis - 44th

K1 Women
Hannah Craig – 32nd Madison Corcoran – 34th

C1 Women
Michaela Corcoran - 35th

C1 Men
Liam Jegou – 30th Robert Hendrick – 32nd Jake Cochrane – 38th

Published in Canoeing
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Northern Ireland Canoeist Jake Cochrane won a bronze medal in the C1 Men Final earlier this month at the first race of the 2021 Pyrenees Cup, an ICF ranking series held in northern Spain and southern France.

The full-time Canoe Slalom athlete from Jordanstown showed great pace all weekend, starting with third in the qualification round, and carrying the momentum to his medal-winning performance with a clean run of 93.70 seconds in the final.

Also in action was 2012 Olympian Hannah Craig, who showed the strength of the Irish Team this year, making the finals of the K1 Women, finishing ninth.

The Pyrenees Cup is a series of races held in southern France and northern Spain, attracting a very high level of competition with international racers from all over Europe using the series to get their first start line of the year.

Published in Canoeing
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Paddlers from all disciplines and backgrounds were honoured last night at the 2021 Canoeing Ireland Awards. At the virtual ceremony, Awards were presented for a diverse range of achievements across paddlesports in 2020. While 2020 was a difficult year for all sports, Canoeing Ireland was lucky that some athletes had the opportunity to compete internationally, and to have a small number of domestic events around the country.

In a challenging year, it was even more important to celebrate achievements and to mark the passion and hard work which was put into keeping things afloat.

Canoeing event of the year - Canoeing event of the year - The 10k charity paddle winner was chosen by public vote

At the ceremony itself, Awards were presented across six categories –

  • Community Impact Award. For work promoting our sport while having a positive impact on the local community. Winner – Martina Slevin. Martina has been a driving force behind creating opportunities for women to participate in paddlesports, facilitating training courses for women, and running brilliant charity events.
  • Team of the Year. The best team performance from the 2020 competition season. Winner – C1 Men Canoe Slalom Team. Awarded for the incredible performance at the 2020 European Championships where the team took home a silver medal. Irelands first in Team racing.
  • COVID Response Award. For outstanding service to the sport in facilitating a safe return to activity. Winner – Shane Henderson. Shane voluntarily rolled out a COVID hygiene training programme for Canoeing Ireland members as well as producing COVID screening questionnaires for use in clubs across the country.
  • Athlete of the Year. The outstanding athlete from the 2020 season. Winner – Liam Jegou. Liam's historic World Cup Gold Medal at the ICF World Cup in Pau was the deciding factor in the awarding of Athlete of the Year. The first Gold Medal won by an Irish Athlete in the C1 Men category.
  • Event of the Year. While every event held in 2020 was an achievement in its own right, Event of the Year was awarded to the event which best captured the passion for paddlesports. The winner was chosen by public vote. Winner – Rape Crisis 10K Charity Paddle. In aid of Rape Crisis Midwest, this event also acted as an opportunity to get people out on the water for their first time in a boat. The organisers also hosted a series of pre- event courses for women and beginner paddlers.
  • Volunteer of the Year. The most popular and highly contested category each year, this award is presented to a volunteer who has best served our sport through their passion, selfless work, and continued commitment to our sport. Winner – Patricia McCormack. Patricia has been a long serving volunteer in Canoe Polo. Patricia is a founding member of Kilcock Canoe Polo Club, has served on the Canoe Polo National Committee and has many times travelled with the National Team as coach and manager. After her own diagnosis with cancer, Patricia launched the ‘Mahon Cup’, a fundraising event for cancer charities which brought together women polo players of all ages for a fun day of competition.

Canoeing volunteer of the yearCanoeing volunteer of the year - Patricia McCormack

The opportunity to celebrate the wins from a roller-coaster year in 2020 was enjoyed by both the organisers and attendees. 2021 is shaping up to be an even bigger and better year for paddlesports, promising a lot more to celebrate when the 2022 Awards roll around.

Published in Canoeing
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Liam Jegou made Irish canoeing history today taking Ireland’s first-ever World Cup Gold medal in the C1 Men category.

In the final of the ICF World Cup in Pau, France, Liam put down a run of 100.35 seconds to take the top spot and secure his first-ever World Cup medal, 0.73 seconds ahead of the Czech Republic’s Vaclav Chaloupka.

This medal performance followed brilliant racing during the whole competition, with Liam also posting the fastest time in Friday's qualification event, and producing further composed racing to finish in sixth in the semi-final and secure his final spot.

Tokyo 2021 confirmed Olympian Liam Jegou has won Gold at the World Cup in Pau, FranceTokyo 2021 confirmed Olympian Liam Jegou has won Gold at the World Cup in Pau, France

As Afloat reported previously, Liam in the past few years had moved to Pau to train full time so was effectively racing on home water, showing his mastery of this course with consistently fast racing across the whole competition. This outstanding result reflects the hard work the Irish athlete has been putting in all summer in the lead in to next years Tokyo Olympic Games, where Liam is the first athlete to have qualified for Team Ireland at the upcoming Games.

“I’ve been pushing myself really hard now for several years, and all summer, preparing for events like this. So I’m absolutely thrilled to put down a big run like this in the seniors, it means a lot.” Liam Jegou

Hannah Craig

Elsewhere in the World Cup, London 2012 Olympian, Hannah Craig made a great return to competition finishing 13th in the K1 Women's event, narrowly missing out on a spot in the finals. Giving Hannah great motivation to take on her bid to qualify for the Tokyo Games in early next year. In the K1 Men Ireland was represented by junior athlete Tom Morley, getting great experience at World Cup level and paving the way for a bright future.

Published in Canoeing
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This weekend will see Canoe Slalom athletes compete behind closed doors at a World Cup race in Pau, France, where London 2012 Olympian Hannah Craig, and Tokyo 2021 confirmed Olympian Liam Jegou will both be racing for Ireland.

After the massive COVID disruptions for the International canoe slalom community this season, getting the opportunity to once again paddle on the magnificent Pau course will be a moment to savour this weekend and a return to the international circuit.

A few days after having hosted the selections for the composition of the French team for the next Olympic Games (from October 7 to 11), the White Water Stadium will once again be the stage of spectacular women’s and men’s races in slalom and extreme slalom.

Canoe Slalom

Canoe Slalom is an Olympic discipline which consists in doing a wild water course almost 400 metres in length as quickly as possible whilst respecting a mandatory route, indicated by gates (18 to 25 maximum). There are two types of gate:

  • Green gates: passed through heading downstream
  • Red gates: negotiated heading upstream

Gates which the canoer touches, or those that are not crossed, are counted as penalties, which add to the finishing time of the course (2 seconds for a touch, 50 seconds for a missed gate).

International categories

  • Men’s kayak single (MK1) and women’s kayak single (WK1)
  • Men’s canoe single (MC1) and women’s canoe single (WC1)
  • Men’s Extreme Canoe Slalom (MCSLX) and Women’s Extreme Canoe Slalom (WCSLX)

Courses involving team events with three boats also exist.

Canoe Slalom is practised on more or less complicated whitewater courses depending on the level of the competition, with a qualifying phase of two rounds followed by a semi-final and a final round.

Published in Canoeing
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Team Ireland is off to a great start at the 2020 Junior & U23 Canoe Slalom European Championships. Held in Krakow, Poland the championships are running from 1st-4th of October.

Day one of racing saw the only Irish competitor in the C1 men category, Robert Hendrick, get the momentum going for the team, putting in an excellent run to qualify through to the semi-final in 7th place.

To continue the success, today the K1 Men U23 team, consisting of Noel Hendrick and Alistair McCreey, both qualified through to Sunday's semi-final. Noel putting in a strong performance to finish 17th in a very competitive race.

This is a fantastic start to the competition for Canoeing Ireland to see 3 of the 4 athletes competition through to the semi-final. Continuing the great run of form the team is seeing in recent years.
Robert Hendrick race on Saturday morning in the C1 Men semi-final, with Noel Hendrick and Alistair McCreey racing on Sunday in the K1 Men.

Published in Canoeing
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Texaco has launched a support for sport initiative which sets aside a fund of €130,000 for distribution to sports clubs on a twenty-six, county-by-county basis, with successful applicants receiving €5,000 each.

At a time when many sports clubs may be experiencing financial strain, the initiative is one that Valero hopes will recognise the important contribution that sports clubs make to communities and throughout Irish society as a whole.

Open to sports clubs across the 26-counties of Ireland – irrespective of sporting discipline, size, membership, age, cultural appeal or gender – it is expected to attract all whose activities, goals and ambitions can, in the view of adjudicators, be materially advanced through the receipt and proper use of funding.

Speaking at the launch of the Texaco Support for Sport initiative, James Twohig, Director of Ireland Operations, Valero Energy (Ireland) Limited, described Irish sports clubs as a unifying element and a focal point for good in our communities. “In our cities, towns and villages, sports clubs are the magnets to which so many of us are drawn, homes-from-home where we meet and enjoy the friendship and camaraderie that sport offers and that all members and supporters share,” he said.

“By offering a new and innovative route to funding, we believe that the Texaco Support for Sport initiative will help uphold the unique values and characteristics that countless numbers of dedicated club members work so hard to preserve, whilst giving new expression to the cherished relationship that exists between the Texaco brand and generations of Irish sports enthusiasts,” James Twohig added.

Adjudication

Leading the adjudication process will be Texaco Support for Sport ambassador, acclaimed broadcaster and former Irish rugby international, Donncha O’Callaghan. “From my knowledge of sports clubs, gained at junior, senior and international level, I know how beneficial the Texaco Support for Sport initiative will be by bringing a much-needed benefit to clubs when it is least expected. Now more than ever, our clubs and volunteers need our support. I am really looking forward to reviewing the online applications, which provides clubs with the opportunity to showcase their importance to their local communities, and then seeing the recipients enjoy the benefit of this great initiative,” he added.

Application

Sports clubs can apply for funding from the Texaco Support for Sport from the 1 October 2020, the only requirement being that they be properly constituted and hold a valid Games & Sports Number (GS Number) issued by the Office of the Revenue Commissioners.

Those wishing to apply are invited to submit full details of their sporting activity, the purpose for which the funding is sought and the use to which it will be put. Full details of the scheme and its operation - together with registration, application, validation, adjudication and terms and conditions - are available to view at www.TexacoSupportforSport.com

Closing date for applications is the 31 December 2020 with adjudication taking place in January 2021.

Published in News Update
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Walking along the riverside in Cork Harbour in the past few days of good weather the harbour waters looked inviting, but as I thought of the pleasure of having the sails up, helm in hand, boat moving through the water, the sound of a bow wave ... the emptiness of the harbour waters told another tale… Along the river walk, I saw boats still lying fenced in.

While Irish Sailing negotiated the difficulties of a return to the water and drafted a plan for discussion with clubs, I pondered over why canoeing had been named as the only waterborne sport included in the initial suggestions for a return of watersports.

So I pursued that with a ‘contact’ of mine, as journalists are wont to have, within the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. That single-handed sailing was not mentioned surprised me. My ‘source’ told me that canoeing had been considered because it was “a safe, individual sport, hence social distancing would not be a problem.”

So, why not single-handed sailing – Lasers, Toppers, Optimists – even giving younger sailors a chance to get on the water … The response was that ‘crewed yachts’ had been the focus of concern, where ‘social distancing’ could not be observed…

Now, the core of deciding to go afloat in sailing is based on a combination of self-assessment - of safety, responsibility and risk and that has been put forward by Irish Sailing. I understand the problems of ‘close quarters’ aboard a racing or cruising yacht. As the national sailing authority has suggested, however, what about enabling double-handed sailing, households, family sailing, solo sailing. They should surely be considered, otherwise, a season of little opportunity is ahead.

"overall decisions about local sailing are on hold depending upon what arises from Irish Sailing’s updated plan"

From clubs around the South this week the only positive indicator was that the annual Cobh-to-Blackrock Race, always a well-patronised event, has the best prospect of going ahead because it is not scheduled until September. Decisions are awaited in regard to Glandore Classic Boats in July, but the present uncertainty may affect overseas entrants. Calves Week is still scheduled for August, but overall decisions about local sailing are on hold depending upon what arises from Irish Sailing’s updated plan.

Chief Executive Harry Hermon told me that “the anticipation is that we will be able to go afloat to some degree in Phase 1 of restrictions.”

Hopefully, that will happen but, while not being critical of canoeing as a sport, I’d like to see to more recognition from the Department of Sport of the strong support for sailing and its widespread opportunities.

Listen to the podcast below:

Published in Tom MacSweeney

Jenny Egan and Ronan Foley will begin their campaign to qualify for next year’s Tokyo Olympics at the opening World Cup Canoe competition in Poznan, Poland starting on Thursday, May 23.

In June last year, Egan, from the Salmon Leap club in Leixlip, Co Kildare, won the 5000m at the World Cup round in Portugal. In a brilliant season, she went on to take bronze at the World Championships in Portugal two months later, making her the first Irish paddler ever to take a medal at this level.

With sights set on Olympic qualification, Egan will compete in the Olympic distances of 200m and 500m as well as the 5000m this season.

Her first opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 will come at the World Championships in Szeged, Hungary from August 21-24 and having missed out on both London 2012 and Rio 2016 by a single place, Egan hopes it will be third time lucky.

“The top five at the World Championships this year will go to the Olympics. Then next year, there's another chance to qualify at the European continental qualifiers. Although it's one of the hardest sports to qualify in for the Olympics, I just have to give it my best shot and, hopefully, I'll make it,” she says.

After winning the junior race at the European Marathon Canoeing Championships in Metkovic, Croatia last season as well as World Cup gold, Ronan Foley, who is from Kilcullen, moves into the senior ranks this season, although he will also continue to compete at U23 level. He will take on the men’s Olympic distance of 1000m as well as the 500m and 5000m this season.

Paracanoeist Pat O’Leary, who is from Cork but based in Moycullen, Co Galway, will compete over 200m at the ECA European Championships in Poznan taking place just before the World Cup on May 21/22. O’Leary competed at the Rio Paralympics - the first Irish padder ever to qualify.

Also selected for the sprint team are Barry Watkins of Salmon Leap Canoe Club (1000m, 5000m); Ryan O’Connor, also Salmon Leap (U23 and senior 200m), and Matthew McCartney of Celbridge Paddlers (junior 500m, 1000m).

After Poznan, the team travels to Germany for the World Cup 2 event in Duisberg from May 30.

Canoeing Key Dates

May 21-22 – European Paracanoe Championships, Poznan, Poland

May 23-26 - World Cup 1, Poznan, Poland

May 30- June 2 – World Cup 2, Duisberg, Germany

August 1-4 – World Junior and U23 Sprint Championships, Pitesti, Romania

August 21-25 – World Championships, Szeged, Hungary

Published in Canoeing
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#Canoeing: Jenny Egan qualified for the A Final of the women’s K1 200 metres at the canoe sprint World Cup in Montemor-O-Velho in Portugal today. The Ireland paddler finished third in her semi-final to take the ninth and final place. On Friday, Egan just missed out on qualifying for the final of the K1 500, taking fourth in the semi-final. She will also compete in the K1 5,000 on Sunday.  

Canoe Sprint World Cup, Montemor-O-Velho, Portugal (Irish interest)

Women

K1 500 – Heat One: 5 Ireland (J Egan) 1:56.116. Semi-Final (Three to A Final): 4 Egan 1:55.512.

K1 200 – Heat One: 6 Ireland (J Egan) 45.536. Semi-Final (Three to A Final): 3 Egan 42.103.

Published in Canoeing
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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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