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Why is the Department of the Marine such a minor part of Government?

The theory and practice of perspectives provide a way of thinking about and understanding issues. So, this is my thinking and understanding of the relationship of this island nation with the seas which surround it, from my 25 years of devising and presenting my former radio programme, SEASCAPES. I will be discussing these perspectives every week in this new section of my Podcast website.

Why is the Department of the Marine such a minor part of Government, when the maritime sphere is so vital to this nation in many aspects of national life?

I have never, in all that time, been able to get a clear, definitive answer from any Governmental source to that question. Nor, since I left RTE, have I been able to obtain a satisfactory answer to it.

The sea is essential to our lives on land, an island on the Western periphery of Europe. Our island is on the edge of the mighty Atlantic Ocean which rolls onto it after crossing thousands of nautical miles. Every hour of every day, the sea is an invaluable resource for this small island nation.

People have lived in the coastal regions of Ireland for more than 9,000 years, according to history. It seems reasonable to expect that, from such a history, a tradition of the sea, that there should be more priority given to the importance of the marine sector at Governmental level.

So why isn’t there?

To that question, I still await an answer .

                        PROTECTING OUR SEAS

It was not a good indication for the Naval Service, nor for the Government that, when Gardai  asked Naval Service assistance to search off the West Cork coast for a suspected vessel involved in drugs investigation after the arrest of 10 people for alleged involvement last Friday, the only available Naval vessel on service was involved in Patrick’s Day events in Dun Laoghaire. While a public presence is commendable for the Navy, that the coastline had no other patrol vessel available requires explanation, though it seems evident that the personnel issue left the coastline without patrol coverage. it is understood that a Naval diving unit on a training exercise on Bere Island off Castletownbere was assigned to assist and did so in small rigid-hull inflatables. Sea conditions were described as ‘challenging.’  Several Naval ships, which cannot patrol because of lack of personnel can be seen behind the wire at the Naval Base on Haulbowline Island in Cork Harbour.

MORE SHIPPING SERVICES ARE WELCOME

Eucon have added a sixth ship to their fleet, the MV. Ranger (photo above) Eucon Shipping and Transport Ltd., is part of the Container and Terminal division of the Irish Continental Group.  She joins fleet operations this Wednesday (March 20).Between the six vessels, plus slot agreements on two other vessels, Eucon will operate this weekly schedule to Dublin and Cork ports: 4 sailings per week Rotterdam/Dublin (DFT)/Rotterdam; 2 sailings per week Antwerp/Dublin (DFT)/Antwerp; 2 sailings per week Rotterdam/Cork (Tivoli)/Rotterdam; 1 sailing per week Rotterdam/Belfast (BCT)/Rotterdam; 1 sailing per week Antwerp/Cork (CCT)/Antwerp.

CLdN, headquartered in Luxembourg, has chartered two 962 TEU lift-on / lift-off (LoLo) cargo vessels, M/V Pavo J and M/V Andromeda J) to sail new services between its recently acquired Distriport terminal in Rotterdam, Dublin and Cork. It says this is being done in response to high-level customer demand for freight movement between Ireland and the European mainland.

                                    KILLARY FJORD DEVELOPMENT   

Killary Fjord Shellfish company in Leenane, Connemara, is developing new packaging and labelling with grant aid of €16,000 from from Bord Iascaigh Mhara under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve fund. Killary Fjord Shellfish owners Simon Kennedy and partner Kate O’Connor Kennedy say the new packaging and labelling machine will enable them produce more shellfish more efficiently, with the packaging material having minimal negative environmental impact.

                                                INLAND WATERWAYS

The inland boating season re-opened on St.Patrick’s Day. There are 15,000 registered boats on Ireland’s inland waterways navigation for recreational use.

Tom MacSweeney

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