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michael o'brien

The RNLI is getting a new lifeboat to serve the east coast of Ireland

The Michael O’Brien Shannon class lifeboat is due to arrive at Clogherhead at 1.31pm on Sunday.

Clogherhead Michael O Brien RS The RNLI's Michael O'Brien lifeboat RNLI RNLI

THE COMMUNITY OF Clogherhead in Co Louth is set to welcome the latest RNLI lifeboat to be based in Ireland to their town this Sunday. 

The Michael O’Brien Shannon class lifeboat, which has been named after an Irish lifeboat volunteer, is due to arrive at Clogherhead at 1.31pm. 

The lifeboat is the latest in a long line of search and rescue boats provided by the RNLI to Clogherhead over the past 120 years. 

The boat and its launching equipment represents a multi-million euro investment at the station. It also sees the station move from a 15-knot lifeboat to a 25-knot one, cutting vital minutes off the time it takes for the lifeboat to reach a casualty. 

A significant proportion of the funding for the lifeboat has been provided through a legacy by a Wexford farmer Henry Tomkins, who was a lifelong supporter of the RNLI. 

Tomkins stipulated that a lifeboat be named for his friend, the former Arklow RNLI Coxswain, Michael O’Brien. 

The Shannon was designed by Derry man Peter Eyre who as child was rescued by Lough Swilly RNLI in Donegal.

The arrival of the station’s new Shannon lifeboat on Sunday will take place in front of the beach beside the lifeboat station.

It will be the first time in Ireland that the RNLI will use a SLARS (Shannon Launch and Recovery System) to launch and recover a lifeboat in Ireland. The SLARS acts as a mobile slipway for the lifeboat, which can be driven directly onto the beach for recovery.

“We want the people of Clogherhead and the surrounding areas to come to welcome the new lifeboat home. The station has been preparing for this day for a long time and there is huge excitement for it,” Clogherhead RNLI Coxswain Tomás Whelahan said. 

“The past few weeks and months have been spent in preparation and training by all the crew and shore crew, to receive this incredible piece of kit from the RNLI.  It is the most technologically advanced lifeboat in the fleet, and it will proudly serve the east coast for many years to come,” he said.

We are incredibly honoured to receive it and we are grateful to our donor Henry Tomkins and to the local communities, who by their generosity, have made this day possible. We hope to bring many loved ones safely home in this new lifeboat.

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