An all-weather lifeboat has officially been put on service and become a declared search and rescue asset for a trial period at Clifden RNLI.
The all-weather lifeboat Pride and Spirit has come from the existing RNLI fleet and will be on trial for 12 months operating in conjunction with an existing inshore lifeboat service at the station.
Following the trial the RNLI will make a decision on establishing a permanent all-weather lifeboat service.
A decision was made back in April 2012 by the charity’s Trustees following a recommendation of its Operations Committee, that the volunteer crew at Clifden would take delivery of a carriage launched Mersey class lifeboat. It followed an in-depth review of lifeboat cover in the area.
Since the announcement, there has been an intensive period of preparation for the volunteer lifeboat crew, which has included months of training at Clifden and visits to the RNLI College in Poole.
There are currently four coxswains, four mechanics, four navigators and 16 all-weather lifeboat crew trained and ready to respond to call outs aboard the Pride and Spirit.
John Brittain. Clifden RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, is proud of the additional lifeboat service at the station. He said: “This is a great day for everyone involved with Clifden RNLI. The new lifeboat will allow us to provide lifesaving cover in all weathers up to 100 miles off the Connemara coast.
“We have received great support and encouragement from everyone involved with the RNLI at both Swords and Poole. To see this group of volunteers coming together and training with the all-weather lifeboat and now going on service is a proud day for us all.”
Owen Medland, RNLI Divisional Operations Manager, added: “On behalf of the RNLI I wish everyone involved with Clifden RNLI every success with Pride and Spirit. Since the announcement back in April 2012, the enthusiasm at the station has been wonderful and I am delighted that after months of training, the volunteer crew now has an all-weather lifeboat on service.
“We are continuing to work hard to establish a temporary shore facility which shall allow us to maintain Pride and Spirit ashore.”
All-weather lifeboats can be operated safely in all-weather while inshore lifeboats usually operate closer to shore, in shallower water, close to cliffs, among rocks or even in caves.
Introduced as the RNLI’s first fast carriage lifeboat, the Mersey class has a top speed of 17 knots. Designed to operate from a carriage, slipway or lie afloat, this class of lifeboat is also capable of being self-righted in challenging conditions. The Mersey which carries a lifeboat crew of six has been in service for many years and shall eventually be replaced by the new Shannon class lifeboat.
Last year, Clifden RNLI launched eight times bringing seven people to safety. Of those launches, two services were in the dark. In all, some 82 service hours were spent at sea.
A lifeboat station was established in Clifden in early 1988 and the station currently operates two inshore lifeboats.
Pedestrian seriously injured in Furbo hit and run
A man in his 40s is in a serious condition in hospital following a hit and run in Furbo last night.
He was a pedestrian who was walking on the R336 road near Furbo Church, when he was hit by a car around 8.30pm.
The driver of the car failed to remain at the scene.
The road is currently closed with diversions in place while Garda Forensic Collision Investigators conduct an examination of the scene.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to the collision to come forward, particularly any road users who may have dash-cam footage recorded in the area between 8pm and 9pm.
Drug use in Galway at ‘frightening levels’ says top Garda
Use of illegal drugs has reached ‘fairly frightening’ levels across the city and county, according to Galway’s top Garda.
Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said that only about 10% of the drugs in circulation in society are detected by Gardaí.
He said that there had been increases in detection of drugs for sale or supply and for simple possession in the city and county so far this year.
Cocaine in particular was an issue in Galway, he said, but increased drug use was evident in “every village and town in the country”.
In his report to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Curley said that there had been a 22% increase in detection of drugs for sale or supply in Galway, up 14 to 78 at the end of September.
There had been 108 incidents of drugs for simple possession, up by 15%.
The amount of cocaine seized in the first nine months of the year amounted to €538,838. The level of cannabis seized amounted to €361,872.
Ecstasy (€640) and heroin (€2,410) were also seized, according to the Garda report.
Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said it was a concern that cocaine had overtaken cannabis for the first time, in terms of the street value of the amounts seized.
Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) said that the Garda Drugs Unit needed to be commended for the seizures.
Councillor Alan Cheevers (FF) said it was concerning that use of cocaine had escalated.
In response to Chair of the JPC, Councillor Niall McNelis (Lab), Chief Supt Curley said there were some instances where parents or siblings were being pursued by criminals over drug debts accrued by family members.
He added he would continue to allocate resources to the drugs problem.
Up to 20-week waiting period for youth mental health service in Galway
Young people in Galway have highest waiting times in the state for an appointment with the Jigsaw youth mental health service.
That’s according to Galway West TD Mairéad Farrell who revealed that waiting times for an appointment here are currently up to 20 weeks.
“Figures released through a Parliamentary Question have shown there are significant wait times for counselling appointments with Jigsaw, the mental health service which provides vital supports to young people, in Galway,” she said.
“Demand for the Jigsaw service in Galway and across the State continues to grow, however, as a result youths are waiting up to 20 weeks to get an appointment. With young people from Galway currently experiencing the longest wait times at 20 weeks.
“Every expert in child and adolescent mental health will tell you that early intervention is absolutely vital in avoiding enduring and worsening problems in the future.
“Yet, these figures reveal that if a child or young person seeks out care they are in all likelihood going to be faced with extended waiting periods which are simply unacceptable and put them and their mental health at a very serious risk,” she added.
Deputy Farrell said that young peoples’ mental health had been adversely affected during the pandemic – with loss of schooling, sports, peer supports and even their ability to socialise with friends impacting.
“Jigsaw have experienced a 42% increase in the demand for their services and this cry for help from our young people cannot fall on deaf ears,” she said.
“There is also an element of postcode politics, that depending on where you live you may get treated quicker. Some areas have a three-week waiting time while others are left waiting for 20 weeks.
“Uniformed mental health treatment is needed – so our young people can access the care they need, when they need it and where they need it.
“I have called on the Minister to urgently engage with the service to provide a solution,” she concluded.