Plans for a permanent Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station in Dromineer will be unveiled at a public meeting in the village on Wednesday.
Members of the public will be able to meet architects and engineers who drafted the plans, at a consultation meeting in the Lough Derg Yacht Club from 7pm to 9pm.
The current station began operations from the premises of Lough Derg Yacht Club at Dromineer, halfway down the east shore of the lake in North Tipperary. Now that plans for a new permanent station in the village are well underway, it is important that people become engaged with the consultation process.
On May 25 last, the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station celebrated its 10th birthday. Over the past 10 years, the lifeboat was launched 240 times, 60 of those at night. Volunteer crews have rescued 340 people and saved the lives of three.
Following a rescue on August 13 of this year, the skipper of the vessel wrote a letter to the station’s lifeboat operations manager, Liam Maloney. It read, “The lifeboat reached us within 20 minutes of my call and towed us to the safety of Shannon Sailing Dromineer. It would be hard to do justice to the speed and manner in which all those people concerned responded to the emergency call, including the operator who answered the radio call,” the skipper stated.
For many years, the RNLI and the lifesaving work of its volunteers have enjoyed the strong support of the public, through the tireless efforts of campaigners in the RNLI’s expanding fundraising committee, chaired locally by Niamh McCutcheon.
Even though the RNLI is a charity that saves lives, it does not receive Government grants and relies entirely on the contributions and legacies from the public to continue its vital operations.
Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat Station is one of 44 RNLI Stations operating in Ireland.
A local application to station an RNLI lifeboat on Lough Derg, led by Charles Stanley Smith and Teddy Knight, became reality on May 25, 2004, when the Lough Derg RNLI Lifeboat officially began service.
In the preceding year and a half, volunteer crews and members from the operations committee were recruited and underwent intensive training on the water and in the classroom, with RNLI divisional trainer assessor, Helena Duggan, who is still the trainer assessor to this day.
A RNLI spokesperson described Lough Derg as a “beautiful, serene and charming freshwater lake”.
However, the spokesperson warned that it can be provoked by the high winds that funnel between the hills that border its southern narrower stretches of water.
“With little warning, Lough Derg suddenly becomes an unforgiving sweep of water. At Parker’s Point, where two stretches of the lake meet from the west and from the south, the water depth decreases sharply from 120 feet to less than 20 feet.
“In a south-westerly, these factors combine to produce extremely confusing seas, with waves that come from the two directions at once to produce treacherous steep pyramid waves. It is at this point on the lake that vessels frequently get into difficulties.
“In the past, Lough Derg was a major conduit for the passage of people and trade goods along the river Shannon. Nowadays, the lake is used for pleasure by fishing and sailing boats, cruisers and barges.
“Rescue services must be present and ready to deal with increasing traffic and any possible difficulties that might ensue. Lough Derg RNLI is ready to do that, with volunteers on call 24 hours a day, every day of the year,” the spokesperson explained.