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Four areas off the south Irish coast have been earmarked for offshore wind development by the Government, subject to a six-week public consultation.

The draft South Coast Designated Maritime Area Plan (DMAP), billed as Ireland’s first ever spatial plan for renewable energy at sea, was published by Minister for Environment and Climate Eamon Ryan.

The draft design of the first offshore wind auction to take place in the South Coast DMAP after its adoption has also been published for consultation.

Deployment of fixed offshore wind (fixed-bottom turbines) may take place, subject to the outcome of a six-week public consultation, in the four areas identified as follows:

(1)Tonn Nua (New Wave) is situated off the coast of Co Waterford and encompasses a total marine area of 312.6km². The distance to shore varies from between 12.2km along the western boundary to 12.4km along the northern boundary.

Tonn Nua has a mean water depth of 57m, with a minimum water depth of 48m and a maximum water depth of 69m, giving an overall range of 21m. With a typical density of 4.5MW/km2, a 900MW development would use approximately 65% of the total marine space within Tonn Nua.

(2) Lí Ban (the Mermaid Saint) is situated off the coast of Co Waterford and has a total area of 486km², with distances to shore varying between 49km along the western boundary and 29km along the northern boundary. Lí Ban has a mean water depth of 71m with a minimum water depth of 66m and a maximum water depth of 76m, giving an overall range of 10m.

(3) Manannán (a sea god and divine lord of the Tuatha Dé Dannan) is situated off the south coast of Co Wexford and has a total area of 342km². The distance to shore varies between 52km along the western boundary and 27km along the northern boundary. Manannán has a mean water depth of 69 m with a minimum water depth of 64m and a maximum water depth of 72m, giving an overall range of 8m.

(4) Danú (mother of the Tuatha Dé Danann and the Celtic goddess of nature) is situated off the south coast of Co Wexford and has a total area of 304km². The distance to shore varies between 52km along the western boundary and 27km along the northern boundary. Danu has a mean water depth of 67m with a minimum water depth of 55m and a maximum water depth of 78m, giving an overall range of 23m.

Submissions on the draft terms and conditions for the Tonn Nua offshore auction are requested by June 7th 2024, with the final auction design to be published in early July. The auction is planned to begin before the end of 2024,Ryan’s department says.

An independent economic analysis, published alongside the draft South Coast DMAP, highlights the “potential economic benefits associated with implementation of the plan, which could deliver inward investment of €4.4 billion and an estimated 49,000 full-time equivalent (FTE) years of employment to the Irish economy”, it says.

“The analysis further highlights that more than 65% of inward investment and employment opportunities could be captured by the south coast region,” it says.

“The draft South Coast DMAP is part of a plan-led approach to ensure that offshore renewable energy ( ORE) will only be located in areas off the south coast that are environmentally suitable for such development,” it says.

“Protecting the marine environment and biodiversity and supporting citizens reliant on the sea for their livelihood are central to the sustainable development of the south coast’s ORE potential,” it says.

“The four maritime areas proposed for ORE projects have been identified following a comprehensive environmental assessment process and an almost year-long engagement process with coastal communities and stakeholders, de-risking the DMAPs as much as possible,”it adds.

“This is a hugely significant milestone – the first time the State has developed a forward spatial plan for renewable energy at this scale,” Ryan said.

“Since taking office, it has been a priority of mine and this Government’s to overhaul the regulatory and legislative system so that we could get to this point. We can now plan to run an auction, and the winners can then proceed to deal with a brand-new purpose-developed regulator (MARA) before applying to An Bord Pleanála for development permission,” he said.

“What is also critical is that at all stages of its development, the draft South Coast DMAP has been informed and shaped by close co-operation with local communities and with consideration for all maritime activities, including fishing and seafood production and environmental protection. Now, I encourage people to engage again over the coming six weeks of further consultation,” he said.

“By 2030 and beyond, the development of offshore wind projects in the South Coast DMAP areas will bring enormous economic opportunities for coastal communities, in terms of jobs growth and local community development,”he said.

The draft South Coast DMAP and accompanying environmental assessments will now undergo a six-week statutory public consultation period.

To view the draft South Coast DMAP and for information on how to make a submission to the consultation see here 

The draft design of the first offshore wind auction to take place in the South Coast DMAP after its adoption has been published for consultation and can be viewed here

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Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) in Ireland Information

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is a charity to save lives at sea in the waters of UK and Ireland. Funded principally by legacies and donations, the RNLI operates a fleet of lifeboats, crewed by volunteers, based at a range of coastal and inland waters stations. Working closely with UK and Ireland Coastguards, RNLI crews are available to launch at short notice to assist people and vessels in difficulties.

RNLI was founded in 1824 and is based in Poole, Dorset. The organisation raised €210m in funds in 2019, spending €200m on lifesaving activities and water safety education. RNLI also provides a beach lifeguard service in the UK and has recently developed an International drowning prevention strategy, partnering with other organisations and governments to make drowning prevention a global priority.

Irish Lifeboat Stations

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland, with an operational base in Swords, Co Dublin. Irish RNLI crews are tasked through a paging system instigated by the Irish Coast Guard which can task a range of rescue resources depending on the nature of the emergency.

Famous Irish Lifeboat Rescues

Irish Lifeboats have participated in many rescues, perhaps the most famous of which was the rescue of the crew of the Daunt Rock lightship off Cork Harbour by the Ballycotton lifeboat in 1936. Spending almost 50 hours at sea, the lifeboat stood by the drifting lightship until the proximity to the Daunt Rock forced the coxswain to get alongside and successfully rescue the lightship's crew.

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895.

FAQs

While the number of callouts to lifeboat stations varies from year to year, Howth Lifeboat station has aggregated more 'shouts' in recent years than other stations, averaging just over 60 a year.

Stations with an offshore lifeboat have a full-time mechanic, while some have a full-time coxswain. However, most lifeboat crews are volunteers.

There are 46 lifeboat stations on the island of Ireland

32 Irish lifeboat crew have been lost in rescue missions, including the 15 crew of the Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire) lifeboat which capsized while attempting to rescue the crew of the SS Palme on Christmas Eve 1895

In 2019, 8,941 lifeboat launches saved 342 lives across the RNLI fleet.

The Irish fleet is a mixture of inshore and all-weather (offshore) craft. The offshore lifeboats, which range from 17m to 12m in length are either moored afloat, launched down a slipway or are towed into the sea on a trailer and launched. The inshore boats are either rigid or non-rigid inflatables.

The Irish Coast Guard in the Republic of Ireland or the UK Coastguard in Northern Ireland task lifeboats when an emergency call is received, through any of the recognised systems. These include 999/112 phone calls, Mayday/PanPan calls on VHF, a signal from an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or distress signals.

The Irish Coast Guard is the government agency responsible for the response to, and co-ordination of, maritime accidents which require search and rescue operations. To carry out their task the Coast Guard calls on their own resources – Coast Guard units manned by volunteers and contracted helicopters, as well as "declared resources" - RNLI lifeboats and crews. While lifeboats conduct the operation, the coordination is provided by the Coast Guard.

A lifeboat coxswain (pronounced cox'n) is the skipper or master of the lifeboat.

RNLI Lifeboat crews are required to follow a particular development plan that covers a pre-agreed range of skills necessary to complete particular tasks. These skills and tasks form part of the competence-based training that is delivered both locally and at the RNLI's Lifeboat College in Poole, Dorset

 

While the RNLI is dependent on donations and legacies for funding, they also need volunteer crew and fund-raisers.

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