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Displaying items by tag: fisheries

#InlandWaterways - Two Waterford farmers have been successfully prosecuted by Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) over unauthorised in-stream works on the River Nier, a stretch of water important to salmon numbers in the south-east.

At a sitting of the District Court held at Clonmel on Tuesday 15 January, Oliver O'Gorman and Michael O'Gorman - of separate addresses in Ballymacarbry, Co Waterford - were convicted by Judge Terence Finn and ordered to pay fines and costs.

The prosecution followed investigations into discolouration and turbidity detected in the main channel of the River Nier on the evening of Saturday 24 March 2012. 

Patrick Kilfeather, senior fisheries environmental Officer with IFI, told Judge Finn it had been found that Oliver O'Gorman removed gravel from the Nier and used this in the construction of a roadway through his farm, while Michael O'Gorman had removed boulders and rocks from the river upstream to use in bank protection works on his farm. 

Additionally, the court was told that Michael O'Gorman had dug out the bed of a tributary of the Nier, and that the tributary in question was a very important salmon producing water.

In reply to questions put to him by Peter T Reilly, solicitor for IFI, Kilfeather told the court that had IFI been approached by the farmers concerned, advice and guidance would have been provided and it would have been possible to undertake certain works under IFI supervision during the period from July to September. 

Dolph McGrath, solicitor representing both defendants, entered a plea and submitted they were hard working young farmers who had learned an expensive lesson, and had not intentionally set out to cause environmental damage.

In passing judgement, Judge Finn noted that the works carried out had been ill-considered and ill-advised, adding that the defendants could have acquired the gravels and boulders they needed from a quarry as distinct from taking them from the river Nier. 

He commented it was a pity the defendants had not sought advice from IFI and noted from Kilfeather's evidence that such advice and guidance would have been readily provided. 

Michael O'Gorman was fined €1,000 and directed to pay legal costs of €671.75 and expenses of €760.97 to IFI. A second charge against him for works on the Nier tributary was marked proven and taken into account. Oliver O'Gorman was also fined €1,000 and directed to pay legal costs of €658.75 and expenses of €704.01.

Commenting on the circumstance of the prosecution, the regional director with Inland Fisheries Ireland said there is a general prohibition under the Fisheries Acts from interfering with river and stream habitat. In no circumstances is it permissible to remove materials from a river for use, as in this case, for construction purposes. 

He said that IFI was seeking the assistance and co-operation of farmers and landowners, as the primary custodians of the natural environment, not to engage in works likely to have effects on the fisheries and aquatic environment. In this regard he acknowledged the many farmers and landowners who had and continue to make contact with IFI to ensure that works which they require to undertake can be done in an environmentally sustainable manner.

Published in Inland Waterways

#Shannon - MulkearLIFE and Inland Fisheries Ireland have announced details of a series of free illustrated talks taking place in Limerick throughout February on the extraordinarily rich natural heritage of Ireland, and in particular the Lower Shannon.

The talks form part of MulkearLIFE’s Environmental Education Programme, an outreach programme in local schools and the local community in the Mulkear catchment. The series will be hosted over four Tuesday evenings and will include leading experts sharing their knowledge on farming and conservation and biodiversity management.

Among the talks will be the fascinating story of Atlantic salmon in the River Shannon, presented by Dr Phil McGinnity on 12 February. Dr McGinnity is Beaufort Principal Investigator with UCC’s Aquaculture & Fisheries Development Centre, with more than 23 ears of experience in fisheries science and management, and his talk will outline new and extremely exciting research on the genetic make-up of various salmon types found in the Shannon. He will also examine the history of salmon fisheries on the Shannon. His talk should be of particular interest to anglers far and wide and anyone with a general interest in Irish biodiversity.

On 19 February, Colette O’Flynn will relate the scary story of what is emerging in terms invasive non-native animals and plants arriving into Ireland's coastal and inland waterways. O’Flynn is a research officer with the National Biodiversity Data Centre in Waterford. She manages the National Invasive Species Database for Ireland, which tracks non-native invasive animals and plants in Ireland. She is involved with many European and international invasive species information networks and has been involved with invasive species policy development for the European Commission. She previously worked in various areas in biodiversity education and awareness. Her talk should be of interest to a wide variety of people, especially anglers and those with an interest in Irish wildlife and general biodiversity.

The series of illustrated talks will conclude on 26 February with a talk by Eamon Cusack on building partnerships for sustainable fisheries on the Lower Shannon. Cusack is extremely well known in the fisheries world with over 35 years experience in inland fisheries management. As the former CEO of the Shannon Regional Fisheries Board, he encountered many of the challenges facing fisheries management, and has hands-on experience of policy development, strategic management, change management, enforcement, development and rehabilitation. This talk will focus on his recent work to bring together anglers and the ESB to provide to build effective and durable partnerships for sustainable fisheries. His talk should be of particular interest to local anglers and anyone with a general interest in conservation management and planning.

But the series begins on 5 February with a talk presented by Ruairí Ó Conchúir on conservation farming and biodiversity in the Upper Mulkear Catchment. Ó Conchúir is the manager of MulkearLIFE and has worked in land care management, rural development, farming for conservation and fisheries restoration work for over 20 years, including 10 years in Southern Africa. His talk will focus on the work of MulkearLIFE with farmers over the past three years, with a particular emphasis on partnership work with farmers to improve local habitats. The talk will also attempt to map out where upland farming in Ireland is heading and review work in other uplands parts of Ireland, and outline the likely implications are for upland communities, related farming and habitats post 2014. His talk should be of particular interest to anyone with a general interest in farming, the Irish uplands and the future of EU agri-environmental supports post 2014.

The venue for all talks is the Inland Fisheries Ireland office at Ashbourne Business Park, Dock Road, Limerick. There is plenty of free parking at the front of the building at night. Talks will commence at 8pm sharp and there is free admission to all talks. Further information regarding any of the talks may be obtained from the project [email protected] or from MulkearLIFE, Inland Fisheries Ireland (Limerick) at 061 300 238 or 087 062 5582.

Published in Shannon Estuary

#CoastalNotes - Minister for Natural Resources Fergus O’Dowd has welcomed the launch of a public consultation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed terms of reference for more detailed research to be carried out on the potential impacts of unconventional gas exploration and extraction on the environment, especially for inland and coastal fisheries. 

Speaking last Friday, Minister O’Dowd said that he is particularly pleased that all interested parties, including individual members of the public, will have an opportunity to comment on the scope and objectives of this further research, thereby facilitating consideration of the broadest possible range of views.

Minister O’Dowd went on to say that “the detailed research to be commissioned by the EPA will build on other studies and research in this area and will inform future decision-making on any application that proposed the use of hydraulic fracturing in Ireland.”

Minister O’Dowd reiterated that until the EPA study has concluded and there has been time to consider its findings, the use of hydraulic fracturing in exploration drilling will not be authorised in Ireland.

Published in Coastal Notes

#FISHING - Inland Fisheries Ireland has in the last week seized illegally caught bass off the Wexford coast and illegal fishing nets off the Waterford coast.

While the specifics of these cases are not being released for legal and operational reasons, IFI says that the successful seizures are the result of "the flexibility and dedication of IFI staff".

The national fisheries body said that these types of seizures are often initiated following significant covert, intelligence-led policing operations which are carried out during both day and night time.

In both instances off-duty fisheries staff were quickly mobilised to execute the seizures.

The regional director at IFI praised the staff involved in the operation and described the seizures as very important in the protection of Ireland’s bass, salmon and sea trout resource.

It is widely held that illegal coastal fishing could have devastating consequences on the nation's valuable fishery resource.

Published in Fishing

#fisheries – The Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority (SFPA) will host a seminar entitled Pelagic Fisheries – Monitoring, Control and Surveillance from today, Tuesday 19th June to Thursday 21st June at their head office in Clonakilty. The seminar will include delegates from: the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate; the Irish Naval Service; the Marine Institute; Marine Scotland, the Scottish Control authorities; the National Bureau of Criminal investigation (NBCI); representatives from the Irish pelagic industry as well as the SFPA. The key objective of the seminar is to share information and best practice in terms of verifying compliance of pelagic fisheries at sea.

The first session takes place today, Tuesday 19th June and will involve a number of presentations including; an overview of Norway's and Ireland's fisheries control procedures; the fisherman's perspective on compliance and control; pelagic stocks and fisheries in the North East Atlantic from a scientific perspective and the origins, role and purpose of the EU/Norway Pelagic Technical Working Group.

On the second day the focus will be on best practices in fisheries control at sea and on landing. There will also be a discussion on lessons learnt from previous enforcement actions both in Ireland and Scotland.

The final day will involve a perspective of an industry group who have harnessed the benefit of compliance to achieve external accreditation of their fishery and associated labelling of their product. Following this, the seminar will focus on developing agreed action points and steps to implementation.

Andrew Kinneen, Board member with the SFPA said: "This seminar will provide an excellent opportunity for key representatives from Norway, Scotland and Ireland to share valuable information on how best to monitor the legal exploitation of pelagic fisheries around the coasts of Ireland. The SFPA wants to play our part in protecting the rich resources of mackerel, herring and other pelagic fish around the coasts of Ireland for the benefit of responsible fishermen. We need to ensure we have the best systems in place so that illegal practices such as high-grading are prevented. The effective monitoring and control of these pelagic fish stocks requires the close co-operation of Ireland with other Member States and with Norway. I am sure this seminar will help promote a level playing field of best practice amongst the participants. We look forward to a fruitful exchange of information and ideas on how we can best work together to protect the interests of legitimate fishermen.

The Irish seafood industry is vitally important to our economy - total sales of Irish seafood on both domestic and export markets, excluding direct landings for Irish vessels into foreign ports, amounted to €730 million in 2008 which represented 345,000 tonnes. Exports of Irish seafood for 2010 are estimated at €365 million. An estimated 75% of Irish seafood exports are sold in EU markets - markets outside of the EU are also of vital importance notably for Ireland's pelagic fleet which fishes mainly mackerel, horse mackerel, herring and blue whiting. Nigeria and Russia are among the main markets for these species. This seminar will seek to underline that good goverance overall and co-ordinated monitoring effort between Ireland and other countries is the way forward to safeguarding jobs and securing a profitable future for Ireland's fish catching and processing sectors."

Published in Fishing

#JOBS AND CAREERS - Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) is seeking to recruit a number of staff as Fishery Officers nationwide for a maximum period of four months during 2012 and will shortly commence a process to fill these positions.

The Fishery Officer will be primarily concerned with the implementation and enforcement of the provision of the Fisheries Acts, Water Pollution Acts and other relevant statutory provisions.

He or she is required to provide, in co-operation with other fisheries staff, comprehensive conservation and protection services, as well as improvement, development and fisheries management support services, both inland and at sea, within any part of a fisheries district and/or any other area assigned within one or more fisheries districts.

The Fishery Officer is also expected to assist either directly or indirectly in fisheries-related research projects.

Salary at the first point of the Fishery Officer Scale is €22,349 plus an Unsocial Hours allowance, which will be paid at either 50% or 100% relative to the number of unsocial hours worked.

Applications should be mailed for the attention of Ms Sandra Doyle, REF: HR/FO/2012, Inland Fisheries Ireland, Swords Business Campus, Swords, Co. Dublin or by e-mail to [email protected] by the close of business on Tuesday 24 April 2012.

For further job details contact Sandra Doyle at 01 8842 612. Please note that late applications will not be processed.

Published in Jobs

#BUDGET - Coastguard and lifeboat services, mountain rescue and the Commissioners of Irish Lights will not face any further funding cuts in the latest Budget, according to the Minister for Transport.

The Irish Times reports that, following the reduction of his department's budget, Minister Leo Varakdar stated that substantial cuts have already occurred in the maritime safety sector.

Moreover, he announced an increase in the maritime budget from €70.5 million to €80.3 million, due to provisions for the new Irish Coast Guard helicopter contract.

Earlier this week, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, underlined the importance of the marine sector to Ireland's coastal communities.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Minister Coveney announced a round of expenditure estimates on Monday which include increased funding for investment in processing, aquaculture and fishery harbours.

Published in Budget
#FISHING – Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney TD today presented to the Dáil a Sustainability Impact Assessment of the EU Commission proposals for Total Allowable Catches (TACs) and quotas for 2012, representing the first time that such a process has been adopted.

The Programme for Government provides that a Sea Fisheries Sustainability Impact Assessment, based on consultations with stakeholders will be brought before the Dáil annually before EU fisheries negotiations commence. Minister Coveney said "As soon as the EU Commission brought forward its proposals for 2012 TACs and quotas, I initiated a consultation process and asked stakeholders to provide their comments on the proposals. I also arranged a meeting with representatives of stakeholders to assist and inform consideration of the proposals. I have now received the views of the fishing industry and also of environmental interests which I have carefully considered. I presented to the Dáil today a formal assessment which takes account of these views and also the expert contributions from the Marine Institute and BIM".

The Sustainability Impact Statement reviews all the stocks of importance to Ireland taking account of the scientific advice on the stocks. The statement also sets down the economic importance of stocks and the likely impacts from a socio-economic perspective. Minister Coveney said "It is very clear from the analysis undertaken by BIM that the current proposals could have significant consequences on our fishing industry and our dependant coastal communities. Potentially there is a loss of €16m for the fleet operating in the Celtic Sea, a loss of €5.3m for the fleet in the Irish Sea and €1.2m loss in the north-west. This equates to losses in the order of €60 to €65m for coastal communities where the direct cost and indirect costs (processing, net making etc) are taken into account".

Minister Coveney added "We must ensure that the state of fish stocks is not compromised and the scientific advice provided informs decisions on TACs and quotas for 2012. However, this can not mean that a simplistic approach is taken and automatic cuts are applied where full analysis of the stock in not available. We need to make use of all available data in setting next year's quotas so that decisions made are informed and appropriate".

In tandem with the Dáil debate the Marine Institute presented the Minister with 'The Stock Book' produced annually by the Marine Institute (MI). The Stock Book gives the latest scientific advice on the state of those fish stocks that are exploited by the Irish fleet and managed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). Minister Coveney said "The Stock Book is an important element in determining Ireland's position on stocks in advance of negotiations on fishing opportunities at the December Council. I am a keen advocate of fully informed decision making and the information contained in the Stock book is of vital importance in forming our position at the hard negotiations in December".

Published in Fishing
Tagged under
Seasonality, climate change and the environment were the hot topics discussed at the inaugural meeting of the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone last Thursday.
Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne hosted the forum, whose 60 voluntary members - drawn from various stakeholder groups - are is set to meet twice annually.
The day saw TV personality and keen angler Derek Davis installed as chairman of the forum, following his appointment by the Minister for Natural Resources.
Davis noted that the forum "can influence policies for the protection, management, development and conservation of this valuable resource now and for the generations to come."
In his own address to the forum, Dr Ciaran Byrne highlighted the members' collective experience in fisheries management on Ireland's inland waterways.
“A number of you have served as members of the central and regional fisheries boards, some for over 20 years," he said. "As members of the forum you have the opportunity to discuss and advise on the future of inland fisheries in Ireland. IFI looks forward to receiving your considered views on the various issues.”
In a message to the meeting, Minister Pat Rabbitte stated his belief "that the forum will provide a meaningful channel of communication between the stakeholders and management of the inland fisheries resource".

Seasonality, climate change and the environment were the hot topics discussed at the inaugural meeting of the National Inland Fisheries Forum in Athlone last Thursday.

Inland Fisheries Ireland chief executive Dr Ciaran Byrne hosted the forum, whose 60 voluntary members - drawn from various stakeholder groups - are is set to meet twice annually.

The day saw TV personality and keen angler Derek Davis installed as chairman of the forum, following his appointment by the Minister for Natural Resources. 

Davis noted that the forum "can influence policies for the protection, management, development and conservation of this valuable resource now and for the generations to come."

In his own address to the forum, Dr Ciaran Byrne highlighted the members' collective experience in fisheries management on Ireland's inland waterways.

“A number of you have served as members of the central and regional fisheries boards, some for over 20 years," he said. "As members of the forum you have the opportunity to discuss and advise on the future of inland fisheries in Ireland. IFI looks forward to receiving your considered views on the various issues.”

In a message to the meeting, Minister Pat Rabbitte stated his belief "that the forum will provide a meaningful channel of communication between the stakeholders and management of the inland fisheries resource".

Published in Angling
New evidence is indicating that wild salmon are adapting to climate change by feeding in colder waters, The Irish Times reports.
According to salmon expert Dr Ken Whelan, wild salmon are now diving as far as 800m below the surface - normally the preserve of the sperm whale - to feed for periods of up to 24 hours during winter months.
They are also travelling closer to the polar ice fields, in response to the warming of the Atlantic Ocean.
The change in behaviour was noted at a salmon summit in France attended by more than 100 fishery managers and scientists from across Europe, which was convened to discuss the threat of climate change to wild salmon stocks at sea.
Plankton levels are particularly affected by the changing wind and ocean currents, said Dr Whelan of findings from the EU-funded Salsea programme, which he led.
“Surviving the first winter at sea seems to be the key challenge for these stocks, and the salmon in the northern states like Norway and Russia, seems to be less affected,” he said.
But the recent return of wild salmon to the Tolka in Dublin, as well as healthy returns along other inland waterways, highlighted that the news was not all doom and gloom.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

New evidence is indicating that wild salmon are adapting to climate change by feeding in colder waters, The Irish Times reports.

According to salmon expert Dr Ken Whelan, wild salmon are now diving as far as 800m below the surface - normally the preserve of the sperm whale - to feed for periods of up to 24 hours during winter months.

They are also travelling closer to the polar ice fields, in response to the warming of the Atlantic Ocean.

The change in behaviour was noted at a salmon summit in France attended by more than 100 fishery managers and scientists from across Europe, which was convened to discuss the threat of climate change to wild salmon stocks at sea.

Plankton levels are particularly affected by the changing wind and ocean currents, said Dr Whelan of findings from the EU-funded Salsea programme, which he led.

“Surviving the first winter at sea seems to be the key challenge for these stocks, and the salmon in the northern states like Norway and Russia, seems to be less affected,” he said.

But the recent return of wild salmon to the Tolka in Dublin, as well as healthy numbers along other inland waterways, highlighted that the news was not all doom and gloom.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing
Page 6 of 8

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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