Displaying items by tag: Leo Varadkar
#COASTGUARD - The Irish Examiner reports today that the Irish Coast Guard has severely criticised the first draft of the 'value for money' report on the coastguard service commissioned by Transport Minister Leo Varadkar.
Senior IRCG management berated the work of the consultants Fisher Associates who were commissioned to undertake the studies into the coastguard and Marine Survey Office.
In their observation of the report's first draft, they cite "uninformed or poor analysis; lack of dialogue on matters surfaced; lack of understanding of where the IRCG has competency or control on particular matters and where they are departmental competencies; laziness in fact finding; ignorance of how coast guards function and failure to recognise command and control issues."
They also slated "sloppiness" in the report's incorrect spelling of the service as the 'Irish Coastguard', arguing that it "reflects very, very poorly on Fisher's ability or competence in these areas".
The news comes ahead of Irish Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds' appearance before the Oireachtas Transport Committee tomorrow (Wednesday 24 October) to discuss the future of the national network of coastguard stations.
Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly, who worked to bring Reynolds before the committee, claims that the coastguard head's agenda is to close the stations at Valentia and Malin Head while retaining the Dublin station and a sub-base in the Transport Minister's constituency.
Elsewhere in the Irish Examiner, Dan Buckley comments on the local campaigns to save the "vital" bases at Valentia and Malin Head.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, coastal communities in Kerry have joined with their counterparts in Donegal to protest mooted plans to close their coastguard radio stations, despite the wealth of local expertise and hundreds of thousands of euro worth of recent investment.
#VOLVO OCEAN RACE - Minister for Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar has ruled out any Government bailout to cover the €400,000 in debts owed by organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race finale in Galway, as the Galway City Tribune reports.
Some 60 suppliers have not yet been paid by organisers Let's Do It Global, who are set to meet with stakeholders this coming Monday to discuss the situation.
The race organisers are themselves owed in the region of €170,000 from their own debtors, but even if collected this would cover less than half the value of their own debt.
Hopes that Minister Varadkar might step in to make up the shortfall were dashed on Wednesday when, speaking to Galway Bay FM, he confirmed that the event already received State funds through its sponsorship by Fáilte Ireland, and that as his own department was operating at a deficit no other funding was available.
A spokesperson for his department added that the Fáilte Ireland sponsorship "was the biggest allocation to any tourism event in 2012".
The news all but rules out the potential third bid to host the event, at least for the foreseeable future.
Tomorrow sees the official opening ceremony of Ireland's first visitor centre dedicated to the history of emigration.
The National Centre for Emigration History in New Ross, Co Wexford, which incorporates the Irish America Hall of Fame, will be opened by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadar, joined by famous Irish-American Michael Flatley.
Located on the quay side of the River Barrow next to the popular tall ship Dunbrody, which commemorates the Great Famine, the €2.6 million interative centre features a state-of-the-art exhibition on the story of Irish emigration, plus a genealogical resource for visitors hoping to trace their Irish heritage.
At today's AGM the Annual Report for 2010 was presented to the Shareholders in advance of publication later this year after it has been laid before the Oireachtas.
Dublin Port Company also outlined its trading outlook for the remainder of the year after a return to growth in throughput in 2010 following two years of decline in trade. These results showed an increase of 6.1% on the previous year to 28.1 million tonnes which is just 9% lower than the historic high of 30.9 million tonnes in 2007.
Addressing Dublin Port Company's AGM, Ms. Lucy McCaffrey, the company's chairperson, said; "I was pleased to report to our shareholders, the representatives of the Minister for Transport and Minster for Finance, that Dublin Port Company will pay a dividend of €6.5 million in respect of the 2010 financial out-turn along with a payment of a special dividend of €10 million. The €16.5m paid this year will bring total distributions to €36.6 million in a five year period. In addition to paying a dividend to our shareholder we remain committed to investing in the port's infrastructure to ensure that Dublin Port remains the efficient modern competitive port it has become. We recently launched a major consultation exercise with all our stakeholders to create a Masterplan for the future development of Dublin Port to ensure that it can continue to serve the trading needs of the city and country for generations to come."
Speaking about the financial performance of Dublin Port Company for 2010, Dr. Leo Varadkar TD, Minister for Transport said; "I congratulate the company on its strong financial performance for 2010 which has enabled it to pay a further dividend to the State. It is encouraging that the company remains a profitable enterprise which continues to pay a dividend to the State, in line with current Government policy in relation to the commercial State companies. Furthermore, it is encouraging that the financial strength of the company will allow it to invest significantly in the future development without recourse to exchequer funding. This country's return to economic prosperity will be export-led and Irish ports will play an important role in facilitating that trade. In this regard the current Masterplan consultation process the company has embarked on is a timely and necessary exercise in preparing for the future."
Minister for the Marine Simon Coveney will have the remit for air and sea search and rescue services, it has emerged.
The Irish Times reports that the move is part of a promised consolidation of maritime functions under the new programme for Government.
Responsibilty for the Irish Coast Guard will however remain with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar until an official transfer which is expected in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, fellow Fine Gael TD and Minister of State for NewEra, Fergus O'Dowd, intends to push for a review of the State's €500m contract for search and rescue services with CHC Ireland.
O’Dowd said there were “significant questions to answer” over the deal signed by former Transport Minister Noel Dempsey last year.
The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.