RNLI launches Christmas fundraising appeal

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) will see its volunteer lifeboat crews sacrifice time with their loved ones to save others this Christmas.

As the search and rescue charity launches a Christmas fundraising appeal, the RNLI is highlighting the volunteers who will be on call over Christmas to save lives on the water.

One household on Lough Derg will see three of their family on call, as a father and his two daughters volunteer for the Dromineer based lifeboat.

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The Kennedy family hold a number of roles at the lifeboat station and they along with their fellow volunteers at Lough Derg RNLI will be wearing their pagers and ready to drop whatever they are doing, to answer the call. Over the past five years, RNLI lifeboats have launched 55 times in Ireland during the festive period, bringing 44 people to safety.

The RNLI has launched its Christmas lifeboat appeal at, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving search and rescue work on Irish waters. With over a thousand lifeboat volunteers around Ireland, each RNLI crewmember signs up to help save every one from drowning, the charity’s mission since 1824.

Peter Kennedy is a Launch Authority and a station mechanic for the Lough Derg Lifeboat. Daughter Aoife is also a Launch Authority and the Station Administrator, while another daughter, Doireann, is a volunteer lifeboat crew member. Peter joined the station ten years ago, following by Aoife in 2017 and finally Doireann in 2019.

Speaking about her volunteer role with the RNLI and the family’s involvement in saving lives on the water, Lough Derg RNLI crew member Doireann Kennedy said, ‘ I was always interested in becoming crew. All of us who volunteer for the lifeboat live in the same house, so when the pagers go off, it’s all hands on deck. There is a lot of discussion in our house about lifeboats and I get a real sense of excitement from being out on the water. Often, it’s my father or sister back at the station doing the comms with the Coast Guard and the lifeboat and it’s a familiar voice on the VHF radio, which is lovely. We have our different roles but they are each crucial for search and rescue on the lake.’

‘I joined the lifeboat at the beginning of year in 2019 and by the end of it, I was involved in a callout that saved the lives of two kayakers. It was challenging conditions on the lake and when we found the kayaker, he had his phone in his mouth and was in the water. Thinking we had saved him and could go home, the man then asked where his friend was and we knew there was someone else in trouble. We had no idea and had to start searching for a second kayaker.

The Coast Guard helicopter spotted him and guided us to where he was gripping on to his kayak in the water and was clearly in a bad way. I think about that rescue a lot and how it could have been very different. I asked myself if this is really what I want to do?  I was still relatively new to the role at that time but the answer was a definite yes. The next rescue could be someone I know and I’m okay with that, because I’ve been trained and I know what to do.’

The callouts the lifeboat crew on Lough Derg launch to would not be possible without donations from the RNLI’s generous supporters, helping to fund the essential kit, training and equipment needed by lifeboat crews all year round.

The RNLI has launched its Christmas appeal, as the charity asks for help to continue its lifesaving work at the inland station.

To make a donation to the RNLI’s Christmas Appeal visit:

The RNLI encourage those visiting coastal areas this Christmas to:

Check the weather forecast and read local hazard signage to understand local risks.

If you get into trouble Float to Live – lie on your back and relax, resisting the urge to thrash about.

In an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coast Guard.

Lough Derg RNLI Deputy Launch Authority and Mechanic with his daughters Lifeboat volunteer crew member Doireann and Deputy Launch Authority and Station Administrator Aoife.
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