Irish Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport Leo Varadkar has today opened the newly-built Coast Guard Station in Killybegs which provides the voluntary crew with top-class accommodation and training facilities.
It’s the third new Coast Guard building opened by Minister Varadkar since the election, and a fourth new premises will open at Doolin in the next few months. Minister Varadkar is hoping to open at least one new Coast Guard facility every year for the life-saving Coast Guard volunteers.
Minister Varadkar also confirmed that the Coast Guard has commenced a new round of recruitment for radio officers for its three monitoring stations in Dublin, Valentia and Malin.
Speaking at the opening, Minister Varadkar said, “I’m delighted to open this superb, purpose-built Irish Coast Guard Station and pollution control center. I want to thank the Coast Guard volunteers for their service and dedication to our coastal communities. This commitment is truly impressive and the Government is acutely aware of its importance. I’m pleased to announce that since my appointment as Minister, this is the third new station that we have opened for the Coast Guard volunteer sector.”
The new Coast Guard station is located at the inner mouth of Killybegs Harbor on the new pier. The combined facility consists of a three story Coast Guard Station and an adjoining single storey Pollution Control Store. It provides volunteers with a safe and comfortable working environment, and secure, water-proof storage facilities for their life-saving equipment.
The Pollution Control Store at Killybegs is one of three regional centers used by the Coast Guard. It provides a base for the 25 volunteer members of the Killybegs Coast Guard team who are trained and equipped to operate as a boat team, cliff rescue and coastal search unit.
Irish Coast Guard Director Chris Reynolds said, “I am delighted to have this opportunity to welcome our many friends to Killybegs today on what is a proud day for Killybegs and its harbor. I extend a special welcome to representatives of the statutory and voluntary services including the Gardaí, RNLI, HSE, Navy, Fire Service and local authorities. I wish to thank Killybegs Coast Guard Unit for their many years of service to their community.”
Killybegs Coast Guard Unit Officer in Charge Arthur Kee said, “This is a special day for the volunteer members of Killybegs Coast Guard Unit, for the town and surrounding community. On behalf of the unit I would like to thank the Minister and all those involved with the project including the OPW, Donegal County Council, the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, whose assistance with site provision is greatly appreciated, and the local Harbor Master Martin Connell.”
Since 2011 new Coast Guard buildings have been opened in Goleen in West Cork, and Crosshaven in Co. Cork. The new buildings are a huge leap forward for the volunteers and replace the old garage buildings known as ‘rocket houses’.
The new Coast Guard Station at Doolin, the busiest Coast Guard Station in Ireland, is expected to open within the next few months. Meanwhile planning is underway for new Stations at Westport in Co. Mayo and Greystones in Co. Wicklow.