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Dublin: 11 °C Saturday 7 December, 2019
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Marine Rescue Coordination Centres no longer under threat

Value for money reviews into the Coast Guard lead to fears about the future of the Marine Rescue Coordination Centres at Dublin, Valentia and Malin.

MARINE RESCUE COORDINATION Centres (MRCC) are no longer under the threat of closure, it was confirmed today.

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar was speaking in the Dáil when he confirmed the news. He said that value for money reviews into the Coast Guard and marine survey office identified a number of issues which need to be addressed in Ireland’s maritime transport safety and marine emergency response regimes.

“One aspect of the review which has attracted significant interest is that of the future of the co-ordination centres at Dublin, Valentia and Malin,” said the Minister.

The future of the centres had been in doubt since July, when the Fisher report was published and outlined a number of options on the future of the Coast Guard Service.

Minister Varadkar said that work on an action plan is nearing conclusion and he expects to return to Government on this in the coming weeks.

He said that he appreciates that in seeking to protect local services, “passions can overflow”.

However, I should like to put on the record that I was disappointed at the treatment of officials from my department at a recent meeting of the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications. While most of those in attendance, including Deputy McHugh engaged constructively on the matter, there were a small number of members whose contribution was deeply unfair and unjustified.

He added that he is sure “when they review the transcript of the meeting they will withdraw some of the comments made”.

Careful consideration

Minister Varadkar said that after careful consideration of the various options available, he will be proposing that the three Coast Guard radio centres will remain open and that none will be closed.

He said that through the utilisation of the communications and IT infrastructure across a single national Coast Guard network, he will be proposing that the three centres will be more closely aligned and integrated.

Therefore the current structure of three Coast Guard Centres in Dublin, Malin and Valentia will continue to provide their current service but will be required to deliver new efficiencies in how these services are provided. External consultants are undertaking work on the details of this at the moment to assist in the preparation of the action plan.

Fine Gael Kerry TD, Brendan Griffin said afterwards that this is great news for Kerry and particularly for the Valentia community. “I will continue to liaise with Minister Varadkar on the future of Valentia and the proposed changes that he will be pursuing,” he added.

Read: Irish weather station records coldest July in 40 years>

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