THE Government has been urged to reinstate the €950,000 which came from the National Lottery to support the operational costs of a new tall ship for Ireland.
The call has come from the Atlantic Youth Trust, the youth development, education and cultural charity, against what it is calling ‘the clear commitment in the Programme for Government to develop Ireland’s ocean wealth, sustainability, and the environmemt.’
Intended to replace the lost Asgard II, which was lost in 2008, the ship would act as the new ‘flagship’ for introducing young people to maritime career and have a key role to play in the areas of research, innovation, tourism promotion and support for vulnerable young people.
Chair of the Atlantic Youth Trust, Enda O’Coineen said: ‘This would be a strategically important move for ensuring we are well positioned to maintain our island’s rich maritime heritage, skill set and knowledge. This will be vital for connecting future generations with the ocean and adventure who might normally never get the opportunity.’
The Trust has identified a 164ft tradewind schooner lying in Sweden which is an ideally suited replacement for delivering youth maritime development and sail training. The ship is to be renamed the Grace O’Malley, after the so-called Mayo ‘Pirate Queen’.
Head of the National Maritime College of Ireland, Ringaskiddy and Atlantic Youth Trust advisory board member Cormac Gebruer said: ‘To have a tall ship back in Ireland repurposed to introduce our younger generations to the maritime would be a significantly important and strategic development for the College. There are huge opportunities to utilise this initiative for research purposes linking in with human behaviour and marine sciences which would compliment the work we are doing here in the College.’