Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 08 February, 2005

Written Answers - Search and Rescue Service.

  102. Ms Shortall asked the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources his views on current developments in the Irish Coastguard and maritime safety agency; and if he [384] will set a date for the provision of an emergency towing vessel service to protect mariners here and the Irish coastline; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3602/05]

  Mr. Gallagher: Officials in my Department are engaged in bringing together the safety services provided by the Irish Coastguard and the maritime safety directorate into a single body for greater co-ordination and more effective and efficient delivery of services. As part of this process, the closure of one of the three marine rescue co-ordination centres, one of a number of key recommendations of independent consultants Deloitte & Touche to develop the coastguard, is being advanced. The other recommendations made by the consultants will also be addressed as part of this process. Under the Government’s decentralisation programme for the Civil Service, it is proposed to relocate the coastguard and maritime safety headquarters in Drogheda and this work is also being advanced now.

In regard to the provision of an emergency towing vehicle, I indicated in my reply to Question No. 418 on 26 January 2005 that the Department is examining how the recommendations of a working group on the matter can be progressed, having regard to the very significant costs involved. However, it is not yet possible to indicate when this examination will be complete.