VOLUNTEERS at Union Hall RNLI are celebrating an early Christmas gift – news that their lifeboat station is to be a permanent fixture following a successful trial of three years during which they launched 26 times.
The recommendation, subject to the provision of a long term shoreworks solution, was approved at a recent meeting of the RNLI trustees.
The RNLI’s 45th lifeboat station in Ireland has operated Maritime Nation, a B class Atlantic 75 lifeboat, from temporary station facilities, launching from a slipway adjacent to Keelbeg pier since 2014.
Work will now commence on establishing a permanent building and facilities for the station.
Since going on service, Union Hall RNLI has launched 26 times, saved one life and rescued 42 people.
John Kelleher, Union Hall RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, said they were delighted with the news.
‘I would like to commend the commitment and dedication of our volunteer crew members who have devoted their time to training and to learning and developing new skills to help them save lives at sea.
‘It is thanks to their efforts and those working so hard on the shore – be it to prepare the lifeboat to go to sea or washing it down after a call-out, or to educate people about the dangers of water, or to fundraise – that we are now able to provide this service permanently to the community in West Cork, and to anyone who may find themselves in distress at sea.’
Paddy O’Donovan, Union Hall chairman, added: ‘This is a vote of confidence in our local volunteers. ‘
He added: ‘We are looking forward to the next phase in making the station permanent.’