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THE MARITIME IRELAND IRELAND WEEKLY BLOG – February 25/26/27

THE MUCH LAMENTED AND MISSED NATIONAL SAIL TRAINING VESSEL – ASGARD

The photo of Asgard, taking part in the Parade of Sail at the Australian 200th celebrations recalls a part of Irish maritime culture, heritage and tradition which was lost when the Irish Government failed to replace A the sail training vessel and continue the training programme after it sank off France. It was – and remains -a particualrly disgraceful, disappointing and indeed. shocking, example of Government disregard for Ireland’s maritime history of Government failure to show concern for the value of a training programme which benefited many Irishmen and women and particualrly young people. And also to show complete lack of appreciation, understanding and willingness to protect, preserve and enhance Irish maritime heritage.

Continuing on the question of how committed we are to preserving our maritime culture, I am working this week for the next edition of the MARITIME IRELAND RADIO SHOW which will be issued on Friday of next week, March 4, as usual the first Friday of each month. I have had a very blunt interview with a man who alleges that a State agency is intent on wiping out the maritime tradition he has been handed down by his father – draft net fishing for salmon – which I mentioned in last week’s Newsletter. It is frank and raises those questions about preserving and protecting maritime culture, heritage and tradition. From the last programme, there has been quite a lot of response to the interview with Danny McCarthy, the sound artist who is preserving sounds lost in modern life and demonstrated that with the sound of the foghorn.I am receiving more emails and calls about the topic of preserving and protecting maritime culture, heritage and tradition. This is, undoubtedly, raising interest.

Three well-known figures in the maritime world are retiring.The Chief Executive of Dublin Port will leave the company in August. Eamonn O’Reilly has been in the position since 2010. Announcing his decision to leave Eamonn O’Reilly said that, when he took the job in 2010: “I did not envisage that I would still be here twelve years later. I have relished every day of my time in Dublin Port and enjoyed the challenge of developing and implementing Masterplan 2040. At this stage, Dublin Port is well-resourced in plans, finance and people to maintain the momentum needed to deliver the additional cargo handling capacity that is required and to consolidate the revived relationship between the Port and the City. The Board is  beginning the task of recruiting a new CEO.

Another retirement of a well-known figure in the marine sphere is that of John Leech as Chief Executive of Water Safety Ireland, the State body with headquarters in Galway. “When I joined the organisation over 21 years ago, the 10-year annual average of fatal drownings was 185, today it is 115 and thankfully the trend is downward,” he said on announcing is retirement.” Before joining Water Safety Ireland he had served with the Navy as a Lt.Commander and was involved in developing the Naval Service Diving Unit.

And a third well-known maritime person to retire is Padraig Rath,RNLI Lifeboat Mechanic at Clogherhead in Louth. Padraig is known as ‘Pops’ (or ‘Pop’ if you’re on the crew in Clogherhead) to everyone because as he says himself, there are so many Raths in Clogherhead that they had to have some way of distinguishing between everyone. He is from a fishing family and went to sea for the first time in the summer of 1972, when he was fifteen years of age. He undertook fishing full-time on completing his Leaving Certificate and was the first of his family to join the lifeboat crew.

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