The Shannon class lifeboat Michael O’Brien lifeboat is due to arrive in Clogherhead at exactly 13.31 which is also its operation number.
This lifeboat is unique in the RNLI’s fleet as it has been funded by an Irish legacy, named after an Irish lifeboat volunteer, designed by an Irish engineer and is of the first class to be called after an Irish river.
Its arrival also marks the start of a new chapter in the story of search and rescue in the North East.
A significant proportion of Clogherhead lifeboat’s funding (apart from local fundraising appeals) has been provided through a generous legacy by a Wexford farmer, Mr Henry Tomkins, who was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI.
Henry stipulated that a lifeboat be named for his longtime friend, former Arklow RNLI coxswain Michael O’Brien.
The arrival of the station’s new Shannon lifeboat will take place in front of the beach beside the lifeboat station in full view of the public.
'It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come'
It will also be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS (Shannon Launch and Recovery System) to launch and recover a lifeboat in Ireland.
The SLARS acts as a mobile slipway for the lifeboat, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery. It has a unique turntable cradle, which can rotate the lifeboat 180 degrees, ready to be launched again within 10 minutes.
Clogherhead RNLI coxswain Tomás Whelahan said: “We want the people of Clogherhead and the surrounding areas to come to welcome the new lifeboat home.
“The station has been preparing for this day for a long time and there is huge excitement for it. The past few weeks and months have been spent in preparation and training by all the crew and shore crew, to receive this incredible piece of kit from the RNLI.
“It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come.
“We are incredibly honoured to receive it and we are grateful to our donor Henry Tomkins and to the local communities, who by their generosity, have made this day possible. We hope to bring many loved ones safely home in this new lifeboat.”