Members of the Doolin unit of the Irish Coast Guard have had their membership terminated while a process is undertaken to reconstitute the service on an interm basis.
Minister of State in the Department of Transport, Hildegarde Naughton T.D, has asked the Irish Coast Guard (IRCG) to begin the process of reconstituting the Doolin Coast Guard unit which was stood down from operations and training activities on November 2nd last following a number of volunteer resignations.
The decision was made following receipt of a report and recommendation from independent mediator, Mr Kieran Mulvey, which has advised that certain relationships within the Doolin Coast Guard Unit have irretrievably broken down and that the mutual trust, respect and confidence required to effectively operate a Coast Guard Unit does not exist within the Unit.
The 12-page report concludes that the interpersonal difficulties are not capable of being resolved through the normal mediation process.
In accordance with the recommendations of Mr Mulvey’s Report, members of the Doolin Unit will be permanently stood down. The unit will be re-constituted in the short term by temporarily appointing volunteers who Coast Guard believe can work and operate together. This will address the situation presented by the absence of a functioning Doolin Coast Guard Unit.
A broader appointment process will commence in due course with the view to permanently restoring the Coast Guard Unit in the Doolin area.
Minister Naughton understands that this is a difficult decision and outcome for all concerned. Inaction on the matter is not an option where there is a situation that a person may find themselves in trouble on or near the water into the future and require the assistance of a locally-based Coast Guard Unit. The provision of a robust and fully operational Coast Guard Unit to the Doolin area is the priority.
A number of further recommendations in the report will also be implemented including further engagement with volunteers and a review of procedures affecting the unit around training, operations, equipment and activities.
Minister Naughton also supported the work of the Coast Guard Representative Group, the Coastal Unit Advisory Group (CUAG) which represents volunteers interests within the Coast Guard. To enhance CUAGs role as a representative body for volunteers a review of CUAGs existing Terms of Reference and grievance procedures within the Irish Coast Guard will be carried out.
Clare Fianna Fáil Senator Timmy Dooley said this afternoon: “The Doolin Coast Guard unit has been one of the busiest in the country and has had the service of the finest Volunteers anywhere in Ireland. It is really unfortunate that things have reached such an impasse.
The publication of the Mulvey report will be difficult reading for all and the recommendations will be difficult to take on board. However, I’m hopeful that in the spirit of service to our coastal community, all involved will try to come together and find a way forward.”
Members of the Doolin unit have been contacted by Irish Coast Guard head office and advised of the development. The communication states:
I regret to advise you that the reconstitution of the Unit has the immediate effect of terminating the membership and appointed positions of all volunteers within Doolin Coast Guard Unit.
This course of action is required in order to ensure a rescue service is available to the local community and visitors. I wish to thank you for your valued service to date.
You will be advised of the recruitment process and timeframes for the submission of applications for volunteers on a more permanent basis. Volunteers who are requested to provide service to the reconstituted Unit on an interim basis will be contacted in the coming days.