- Issues with remit of coastguard work also need to be addressed
- Minister must appoint mediators to end dispute
Fianna Fáil TD for Clare Cathal Crowe is calling for an independent team of mediators to be appointed as a matter of urgency, with a view to bringing an end to the ongoing dispute surrounding the Doolin Coastguard.
At present, there is no operational coastguard team in place at Doolin due to the issues that are persisting there, meaning one of the country’s busiest and most important stations is lying idle.
“I’m calling for the Department of Transport and the Irish Coastguard to immediately establish a fully independent mediation team to engage with all volunteers at the Doolin Irish Coastguard Station,” said Deputy Crowe.
“It’s my belief that there are two major issues at stake here – one is a HR interpersonal problem; the other relates to frustrations that the Doolin volunteers and indeed other coastguard volunteers nationally have with the higher echelons of their organisation.
“I believe that a fully independent mediation team could help to unlock whatever interpersonal problems that exist so that the base can get back to a relatively normal level of operations.
“With 12 of the 18 volunteers still registered with the Irish Coastguard, I think there’s also scope to reopen the base as soon as possible.
“Irish Coastguard stations typically have a minimum crew level for various operations such as launching a craft at sea, cliff rescue missions, administering first aid, supporting land and air ambulance crews, and some of these could be adequately filled by the 12 members still registered.
“Whilst it’s hugely disappointing that there’s been a mass resignation of six members, overall, the station shouldn’t close its doors.
“Minister Eamon Ryan and his departmental team need to have oversight as to what has gone wrong and to urgently address the problems that volunteers have faced but I hope and believe that some of this could happen parallel to a mediation process getting underway.
“Over the past year, I’ve spoken with quite a number of Irish Coastguard members throughout the country and they’re rather aggrieved that the service that they have provided for many years has been watered down by senior management of the organisation in its Dublin headquarters.
“In years gone by, coastguard stations would have been actively involved in cliff edge rescues and over-cliff rescues but increasingly so, they’re being asked to refrain from these.
“I also think that the level of training and refresher courses made available to them is inadequate.
“Minister Ryan needs to intervene in this matter on a national level and ensure that the Irish Coastguard is fully equipped and fully skilled in all competencies to ensure that those who go to sea and indeed those who explore the remote coastal part of our country do so in the knowledge that their local coastguard base has the authority, manpower and ability to keep them safe.”