Thursday, 4 November 2021
Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate
Coast Guard Service
I also want to recognise and welcome the Minister of State's presence for this debate. This is an evolving situation in Doolin which has resulted in six volunteers resigning earlier this week. These resignations have taken place amid claims of bullying and harassment in the service. I have serious concerns about the standing down of the service and the circumstances in which this happened. We have hard-working volunteers in Doolin and throughout the Irish Coast Guard, but unfortunately they are not being listened to. A culture of bullying and harassment has developed within the Irish Coast Guard that has been left to evolve without check and that is desperately disappointing.
We need a ministerial intervention and I implore the Minister of State to appoint an independent and competent person to have a serious look at the situation in Doolin. I agree with Deputy McNamara that this is not just an issue for Clare or Doolin; this is widespread throughout the country. Former and current volunteers are speaking out because of the issues which have emerged. It is unfortunate and sad for me to say that the coastguard system is under huge stress. We will not have a coastguard service in the future if we do not address the issues that have emerged in Doolin. There are 12 volunteers in Doolin who are more than capable of carrying out tasks such as cliff rescue, ambulance assistance and search. They should be allowed to continue with that work and be reinstated as a matter of urgency. I ask that the Minister of State take my views and those of Deputy McNamara and other Oireachtas Members across County Clare on board and that we get to work on this straight away.