Fears for Donegal’s Coast Guard operation

Fears for Donegal’s Coast Guard operation
There are fears that the Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Sub Centre at Malin Head is to be downgraded as part of a reorganisation of maritime safety.

There are fears that the Coast Guard’s Marine Rescue Sub Centre at Malin Head is to be downgraded as part of a reorganisation of maritime safety.

Details of the reorganisation of maritime safety, which was initiated six months ago by Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, have been published by the Irish Times. Malin Head and Valentia Radio stations are to be “demoted” to sub-station status and Malin Head would be reduced from a 24-hour operational station to a 12-hour one.

One of the campaigners to retain the station’s current status, Seamus Bovaird, said it seemed the plan was also to close seven Coastal Units in the Coast Guard, reduce staff at the three coast radio stations by 18.5%, to remove the need for an emergency towing vessel. Mr Bovaird, a retired shipmaster, commented: “Instead of replacing trained, professional staff, with years of maritime experience, the Minister’s plan proposes to replace them with administrative staff drawn from non-maritime areas. He fails to recognise that the marine sector needs trained, specialist staff, not just numbers on an office door,” he said.