Munster calls on Ross to put Coast Guard on legislative footing
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Transport Imelda Munster TD has called for Minister Shane Ross to consider a review of the services provided by the Coast Guard in light of reports of frustrations within the service at a lack of resourcing and the fact that the service is not on a legislative footing.
Deputy Munster said:
“Now, more than ever, we are aware of the important, often dangerous, and admirable work of the Coast Guard. No one can deny the important work which it carries out.
“In recent times however, senior members of the Coast Guard have expressed frustration at the lack of the funding available to them from the Department of Transport and, for some time now, members of the voluntary branch of the service have made requests seeking to put the Coast Guard on a legislative footing.
“There is a complete lack of legislation on the Coast Guard. It is the only one of the blue light services not on a proper legislative footing. The Minister has stated before that the volunteer element of the Coast Guard is seeking legislation but I think it goes further than that. There are many issues with the Coast Guard. I think a review of the services and their needs is in order.
“If members of the Coast Guard itself and the volunteers are putting to the Minister the need to be put on a legislative footing, and if they are also raising issues with the lack of resources and support that they feel they are getting from the Department of Transport, that should be enough to warrant the Minister agreeing to a review.
“We trust these volunteers and staff members with our lives every single day of the year. We should listen to them when they draw attention to problems in the Coast Guard.”
Deputy Munster asked Minister Ross if he would be willing to meet with members of the Coast Guard to discuss issues facing the service at present, and he indicated that he would be willing to participate in such a meeting.
“I am happy to hear that the Minister is open to a meeting, and I hope that these matters can be resolved through engagement between the service and the Minister and his department.”