One of the country’s busiest coast guard stations based in the Mid West has begun to move into a state of the art €1.9m station from a 150 year old ‘shed’ on Monday 18th August.
The Doolin base station in County Clare has operated from a building which wasn’t big enough to accommodate the 25 strong members or the unit’s Search and Rescue boats. During the storms last January and February, the Doolin Coast Guard station was extensively damaged and flooded.
There is limited space and no toilet or shower facilities in the old building, and there was nowhere for the members to treat casualties or lay a body.
There was also concerns for parking issues in the village which has previously delayed the launch of a rescue boat. The unit’s custom built Delta Rib ata cost of €250,000 had to be towed by tractor 2km from a members home.
The unit covers a wide area of north and west Clare, while the team is also responsible for Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, where seven more volunteers are based.
IN 2006, a new station had been previously promised by then transport minister Martin Cullen, who said he regarded the provision of such a facility as “a very high priority”.
However, the €1.5m that had been set aside for the project was no longer available following further delays. Fifteen years after locals began their campaign for a new station, work on the new building began last July. On Monday 18th August, the keys were handed over to Irish Coast Guard Area Officer Mattie Shannon.
“We are delighted with the move,” said Mr Shannon. “As the unit expanded and got busier over the years, the need has grown for a facility which can accommodate all the extra equipment we have acquired. A new station is essential to ensure that our resources as a modern-day rescue service are used to their potential. We can now start moving our boats, vehicles and equipment into the new station.”
The new station comprises an area for the storage of the unit’s boats and their extensive cliff rescue equipment as well as changing facilities and an operations room.
The base is also considerably closer to the pier from where the unit launches its rescue boats.
It is expected that an official opening ceremony for the station will be held in October.
Editorial: Pat Flynn
Images Courtesy: Pat Flynn