ONE of the principal organisers of a protest in Kilkee, aimed at highlighting concerns relating to the Irish Coast Guard in the town, has claimed that locals are not confident with regard to the local unit.
“There is a big lack of confidence in the current service in Kilkee and that was borne out this summer. They only got a couple of call-outs. I got two call-outs to go out and pull people in and the dive centre got one call-out, instead of them ringing the coast guard,” Manuel Di Lucia revealed.
Almost 50 people attended a second public protest in Kilkee on Sunday. It was emphasised that a year on from the tragic death of volunteer, Caitríona Lucas, the Kilkee unit of the coast guard has been largely land-based, with members not allowed beyond St George’s Head.
“Most incidents happen way outside the bay, up and down the coast,” Kilkee Marine Rescue founder Di Lucia said.
That service was taken over by the Irish Coast Guard in 2013 and Mr Di Lucia claims that former members of Kilkee Marine Rescue were not utilised.
“The coast guard got rid of the most experienced members of the rescue service who went over to them. There has been no communication from the coast guard in Dublin with regard to our concerns, or even an attempt to re-enter into negotiations. This is one thing I cannot understand. We got a massive kick in the arse from the Irish Coast Guard. They don’t have a full service here in Kilkee and we have the personnel to give them a full service but they won’t communicate.
“I am requesting that the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, get involved now. It’s time for him to have a more hands-on approach to this problem,” Mr Di Lucia maintained.
The Department of Transport was contacted for a comment on this issue but it had not responded.