The Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Association has supported calls from Óireachtas members for an independent inquiry
The national executive of the Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Association (ICGVRA) gives its full support to those Oireachtas members from Co. Clare who call for an independent inquiry into Irish Coast Guard management.
In a recently issued press release, the Board of the ICGVRA say that the recent article in the Clare Champion written by Dan Danaher quotes Clare TD’s and Senators from cross parties in a call for an independent inquiry.
“We further would like this inquiry to include the Minister of State with responsibility for the Irish Coast Guard, Ms Hildegarde Naughton TD, the Department of Transport including the Maritime Directorate and the Secretary General of the Department of Transport. The failure of the Irish Coast Guard management was highlighted at the Joint Oireachtas Committee last May when members of ICGVRA appeared and presented the many problems faced by Coast Guard volunteers particularly when any problems arise within Coast Guard coastal units,” states the Board.
“There were many unanswered questions after the appearance of the acting director of the Irish Coast Guard Mr Eugene Clonan and the secretary general of the Department of Transport before the JCTC (Joint Committee for Transport and Communications) in October 2021 and just as many questions that need to be addressed after the appearance of CUAG (Coastal Unit advisory Group) before the Transport committee last May. (05 of May 2022).”
The Board says that there are many questions that have are to be answered:
“Only a truly independent inquiry can address the questions that need to be addressed. One important question is why has there not been a Director of the Irish Coast Guard appointed for over 5 years. An acting director of the Irish Coast Guard has been in place for many years. Has this failure had a negative impact on the treatment of volunteers that have raised issues within this period. Does the acting director not have the authority to act on the many issues raised by volunteers over the past 5 to 8 years in particular.”
The issue of grievance complaints made by volunteers at the Irish Coast Guard has never been properly addressed claims the Board. The say:
“In a statement on 10 July 2019 given to the Dáil, Senator Martin Conway suggested that a retired High Court or Circuit Court judge be put in charge of investigating Grievance complaints made by Irish Coast Guard Volunteers. It never happened and Grievance complaints are ignored by the Coast Guard management. It might now be a good idea to apply this solution to the independent inquiry as suggested by TD’s and Senators in the Clare Champion.
“Senator Conway suggests in the Clare Champion article “that Doolin is the most high-profile case” but he believes that there are many other similar situations in Coast Guard Units country wide. He is correct in this, and it is time to bring a just solution to the situation that Irish Coast Guard volunteers find themselves in. There are many unjustly dismissed volunteers that would like to present their own individual case before any independent inquiry.”
The Board of the ICGVRA have called on the Government to take on board solutions to the issue they are facing as volunteers. The say:
“There could however be an alternative, appoint a new Director of the Irish Coast Guard and give the new Director the authority to work with the volunteers and bring many of their issues to a satisfactory solution if not all of them. The ICGVRA should have a role in any future solution that is to be implemented if it is to be successful. We are ready to co-operate.”