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Priest Says He Will Miss "Adrenaline Rush" of Being on RNLI Lifeboat Crew

20th August 2019
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Fr Liam Boyle (pictured centre) served on the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat in Donegal Fr Liam Boyle (pictured centre) served on the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat in Donegal Photo: Nora Flanagan/ RNLI Arranmore

A Donegal-based priest who had had to quit his voluntary role as crew member of an RNLI lifeboat has said he will miss the “adrenaline rush” writes Lorna Siggins

Fr Liam Boyle served on the RNLI Arranmore lifeboat in Donegal for the past three years but is now leaving to take up a chaplaincy at Letterkenny’s Institute of Technology.

Fr Boyle’s father had fished, and the priest says this was one of his reasons for signing up after he took a tour of the island’s lifeboat station back in 2016.

“ I remember him telling me about life as a fisherman, the dangers involved and the role the various lifeboats played in rescues,” Fr Boyle says.

“It’s not just the thrill and adrenaline rush of being part of the crew in an emergency call out, it’s the inspiration you get from being part of a crew who are ready to drop everything when the pagers go off,” he says.

“It’s a huge departure from cushioned pulpits to standing on the bow of a lifeboat, travelling at top speed in all kinds of weather to a call for help which could last for hours,” he says.

The RNLI Arranmore station held a barbeque at the weekend (Sun 18) to wish Fr Boyle well in his new posting.

Fr Boyle had to undertake a two-year apprenticeship before becoming a full member of the crew, and says he quickly became aware of “the camaraderie within the RNLI, and how each crew member supported their fellow crew members”.

‘After being ordained, my single most privilege is being involved with Arranmore RNLI and the crew,” he says.

“My motivation for joining this important service was prompted by being involved in all aspects of the community and the essential service provided by the lifeboat - not just to the Arranmore community, but the wider community of all those who use the sea for work and pleasure,” Fr Boyle says.

“‘My reasons for joining the priesthood are constantly changing to adapt to modern needs, and so were my reasons to join the crew of the lifeboat,” he says.

Arranmore RNLI coxswain Jimmy Early says that Fr Boyle integrated well and was a valuable member of the lifeboat team.

Thanking him for his service over the past three years, Mr Early says he will be missed.

“It takes a lot of commitment, time and effort, not only to volunteer and be on call “24/7” but to be available for training and all the other duties involved in the rescue services,” Mr Early says.

The RNLI Arranmore panel in a station dating back to 1883 comprises 22 members, and Mr Early also paid tribute to the “extended lifeboat family” for a vital service” to the coastal community.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

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