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Mulvey to mediate in Doolin Coast Guard dispute

MEMBERS of Doolin Coast Guard have been invited to participate in a process with well respected national mediator Kieran Mulvey in a bid to resolve difficulties that have arisen in the unit, writes Dan Danaher.

Six members of the Doolin Coast Guard unit including the officer in charge resigned unexpectedly on November 1, which resulted in the Department of Transport standing down the unit.

The remaining 12 volunteers are not allowed to respond to search, rescue or recovery operations.

Mr Mulvey is willing to meet separately with the parties in Doolin Coast Guard station house next Monday, November 22, from 6 to 8pm.

If necessary, he will have meetings the following day to continue the mediation process.

The Clare Champion has obtained a letter sent by the Maritime Strategy and Governance Division on behalf of Irish Coast Guard.

The letter outlined that junior minister at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton has decided, in response to the recent events in Doolin Coast Guard Unit to request Mr Mulvey to act as a mediator in an effort to resolve the difficulties that have arisen in the unit.

The minister is particularly anxious that a resolution to the issues which have arisen is sought and that the unit is returned to a fully operational status as early as possible.

This is vitally important to ensure that all those who avail of local coasts and land cliffs contiguous to shores are reassured that if any emergency arises a full Coast Guard
service is available to respond locally.

The operation of the Doolin Coast Guard Unit is essential to this objective.

Mr Mulvey is a well-respected national mediator and is the former Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission.

The minister requests that all parties involved cooperate fully with Mr Mulvey in this mediation process.

“The minister is of the view that all parties should cooperate fully with Mr Mulvey, and with his guidance and experience, seek to reach an amicable and long-term resolution to the
issues that have led to the suspension of the Coast Guard service in Doolin.”

“The mediation process will be confidential in nature and Mr. Mulvey will report back to the minister upon its conclusion,” the letter outlined.

Last week, Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley asked Ms Naughton to appoint a mediator in an effort to resolve the issues in Doolin.

Welcoming the appointment of Mr Mulvey, Senator Dooley said someone of Mr Mulvey’s standing and experience is required to address serious issues at Doolin Coast Guard.

“Kieran Mulvey is well respected by all sides. Hopefully, he can find a way to secure a resolution, not just for Doolin Coast Guard, but for the wider community who require an effective unit.

“It would be a shame to lose all the work and knowledge gained by the Doolin Coast Guard.”

Senator Martin Conway described Mr Mulvey as one of the best in the business dealing with dispute resolution.

“He has succeeded in resolving many industrial relations problems during his career. I would call on all parties to meaningful engage with Mr Mulvey in a positive way, which will hopefully lead to a resolution of the difficulties that led to the unit being stood down.

“Hopefully, a speedy resolution can be found so the Doolin Coast Guard can get back to the vital work it has been doing for years.”

Deputy Cathal Crowe believes Mr Mulvey has the skills required to unlock the situation at Doolin.

“Mr Mulvey’s skills have recently been shown in his ability to resolve the long-running controversy surrounding the Irish Aviation Authority air traffic controllers dispute.

“I have met with and corresponded with many of the volunteers at Doolin Coast Guard station.

“They’re all highly valued individuals and carry out such important work.

“The station being closed, albeit on a temporary basis, has left many people throughout Co. Clare – particularly in coastal communities – feeling very concerned.

“I have met with Minister Hildegarde Naughton and have also spoken with other colleagues in government about the need to fast-track mediation.

“I believe that many of the competencies fulfilled by the base, including support to road ambulance and air ambulance operations, can still be fulfilled even with a reduced cohort of volunteers.”

Earlier in the week, remaining members and those who had resigned were upset about the lack of direct contact from the national Coast Guard service until they received an email on Wednesday morning.

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