The future looks uncertain for cliff climbing enthusiasts who wish to come to Donegal on expeditions as the recommendations of the Fisher Report have still to be decided upon. The 70 page document suggests that the Bunbeg Coast Guard should just remain as a coast guard unit and that the cliff rescue element of their operation be discontinued.
Spokesperson for the Irish Coast Guard, Gerard O Flynn said: “It recommends that the Bunbeg unit should just continue as a coastguard boat and search team and no longer offer the cliff rescue element of their operation. There has been no decision taken on this. It is only contained in the report, it is at discussion level,” he said.
It is uncertain what time the decision will be taken in relation to the Bunbeg Coastguard unit. “I have met with the Bunbeg unit and I have listened to their views. What your dealing with here is a report that has made recommendations and obviously those decisions have to be considered but at the moment there is no decision,” he said.
The Bunbeg Coastguard unit covers a huge expanse of area which stretches from Rosbeg to Hornhead. The team boasts 23 volunteers but at any one point less than twenty of them will be available for a call with the busy coastal unit. The area has become a haven for climbers and in recent years, the hobby has transcended to the islands where local, national and international climbers climb on the picturesque islands of Tory, Gola, Arranmore and Cruit.
Earlier this week, the director of the Irish Coast Guard, Chris Reynolds failed to confirm on whether or not he is in favour of retaining a full service at the Malin Head Coast Guard Station. Meanwhile, the Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar has welcomed the news that the Irish Coast Guard is developing a new iPhone App with the potential to save lives at sea. Gerard O Flynn said: “It is an interesting piece of equipment, it is really designed for inshore use and for leisure activity. The traditional practises should still be observed.” he said.