The management and crew of Bundoran RNLI are deeply saddened by today’s tragic events. We have a very close working relationship with the Irish Coast Guard helicopter based at Sligo and train regularly with them. We send our condolences to the family and colleagues of Captain Dara Fitzpatrick and keep the other missing crew members in our thoughts at this difficult time. As a gesture of respect, we will be lowering the flag at our station to half mast.
RNLI volunteers and Donegal club footballers help launch drowning prevention partnership with the GAA
Three Gaelic footballers from Realt Na Mara GAA in Bundoran joined RNLI volunteers from Bundoran, Lough Swilly and Arranmore RNLI at the launch in Croke Park last week of a major new partnership between the RNLI and the GAA. The partnership is aimed at reducing the number of people who lose their lives though drowning in Ireland.
Shane Smyth, Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Bundoran RNLI and players Niall Dunne, Paul Delaney and Fearghal McKiernan from Realt Na Mara GAA in Bundoran, were in Croke Park when the partnership announcement was made. They were joined by John McCarter, Lough Swilly RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager and Gregory McDaid, Lough Swilly RNLI mechanic and Frank Green, a fundraiser from Arranmore RNLI.
Each year an average of 28 people drown accidentally around the Irish coast.*
The RNLI aims to halve coastal drowning by 2024 and the GAA will work with the charity to engage with clubs and communities, particularly on the coast, to provide information and support that could save lives.
The RNLI’s drowning prevention campaign ‘Respect the Water’, will be supported through the GAA’s Healthy Clubs initiative and the wider club network. Many GAA clubs are based in coastal communities with 333 of them in a 10km radius of the 46 RNLI lifeboat stations in Ireland. Their location makes them ideally placed for sharing information and raising awareness of the causes of drowning and how to prevent it.
Through the partnership the RNLI invited the GAA to their training college in Poole and to Portsmouth University, to meet cold water expert Professor Mike Tipton. GAA athletes experienced what it was like to be plunged into cold water and the effects of it on the body.
Speaking after the launch, Niall Dunne, Realt Na Mara GAA player said: ‘Growing up in the coastal town of Bundoran, I am all too aware of the dangers of the sea and how people can get into difficulty on the water. I am also very aware of the invaluable service the Bundoran lifeboat provides. So many of our GAA club players live and train near the water, whether on the coast or near inland rivers and lakes. We have a responsibility to help and our sport and our ethos encourage this. I know our supporters get behind us in our games, now we are asking them to get behind this campaign; it could help save a life.’
In announcing the partnership, the President of the GAA, Aogán Ó Fearghaíl said: ‘In the RNLI the GAA sees an organisation that mirrors its core values of community activity and volunteerism. We welcome the 'Respect the Water' campaign and its efforts to keep people safe all year round.’
Joining the President at the launch was RNLI Chief Executive, Paul Boissier, who added: ‘Drowning devastates communities, but it’s often accepted as just part of life by the water. We believe that many of these deaths are preventable and we need to work with other organisations who, like us, want to keep their communities safe. Much like a lifeboat station, a GAA club is at the heart of community life. Sporting communities can play a major role in preventing deaths by drowning. Through their approach to the sport and their position in the community they are well placed to be lifesavers.’
Legendary broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, who was Master of Ceremonies for the launch, also narrated a specially commissioned short film for the partnership, which was given its first screening at the event.
The RNLI will work with the GAA and their volunteers in local communities to promote the campaign and share key safety messages and advice.
* This figure includes the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and was collated by Irish Water Safety. The average number of drownings annually in Irish waters (including inland) over the last ten years is 133.
Ireland’s fastest rising country singer and RTÉ’s Best Newcomer 2016 Cliona Hagan is set to perform at the annual Bundoran RNLI dance which takes place on Friday January 27th at the Great Northern Hotel in Bundoran.
The event, which is this year a “Buffet Dance” is now in its 42nd year, is the flagship fundraising event for the charity that saves lives at sea and is a hugely anticipated staple in the local calendar.
Event director Cormac McGurren said ‘this is a huge fundraising night for us and we are forever grateful to our local supporters who come out in such great numbers each year. I’d also like to acknowledge the sponsors of our raffle prizes who give so generously each January. We have decided to try out a less formal buffet style this year and we hope that everyone attending will enjoy a good night of music and food.’
Speaking at the launch, Cliona Hagan said ‘I’m really looking forward to playing at this prestigious event and supporting this great charity – I’ve heard such great things about the night and it promises to be a good one!”
Tickets are on sale locally from all lifeboat crew members, BMG Hardware Bundoran, McNern Barbers Ballyshannon, Temptations Beauty Studio Ballyshannon and Bundoran Tourist Office.
All funds raised on the night remain at the local station in Bundoran and go towards crew training and maintenance of the boathouse and lifeboat itself.
This September, the RNLI is challenging people in Ireland to give up all drinks except water for 10 days to raise vital funds for the lifesaving charity.
No tea. No coffee. No fizzy drinks. No wine. No beer. No orange juice. Just water for 10 tough days.
The H2Only challenge runs from 5pm on Tuesday 13 September to 5pm on Friday 23 September, with participants giving up the drinks they love for 10 long days and drinking nothing but water throughout the challenge.
Laura Mc Nulty, Bundoran RNLI volunteer crew member said: ‘The H2Only challenge is extremely tough. We know that going 10 days without a morning cuppa, a pint after work or a can of fizzy drink will be really hard for everyone taking part.
‘Every euro raised is so important to the RNLI. As a charity, we rely on the support and generosity of the public so that we can continue to save lives at sea. All the money raised by people taking on the H2Only challenge will be greatly appreciated.’
Everyone who signs up to take on the challenge will receive a pack containing two H2Only temporary tattoos to wear. The tattoos last up to 10 days – so participants can proudly display their exclusive H2Only ‘ink’ while taking on the challenge.
All those brave enough to take on the challenge can sign-up now at h2only.org.uk.
Laura continues: ‘People can sign-up as part of a crew with their friends or work colleagues and take on the H2Only challenge together. Just like an RNLI lifeboat crew, they’ll be able to rely on each other for support when the going gets tough and they hit choppy waters during the challenge. I’d encourage all H2Only participants to stay on the water to help the RNLI stay on the water.’
In 2015, RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews across Ireland launched 1,098 times and rescued 1,244 people.
Follow @RNLI on Twitter or like the RNLI Facebook page for all the latest H2Only news and updates.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Nuala McAloon RNLI Press Officer Ireland on 0876483547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk or Niamh Stephenson RNLI Public Relations Manager Ireland on 0871254124 or 018900460 or email Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk
For more information on the RNLI please visit www.rnli.org.uk. News releases and other media resources, including RSS feeds, downloadable photos and video, are available at the RNLI Press Centre www.rnli.org.uk/press.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 230 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and has more than 220 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 141,000 lives.
Charity number CHY 2678 in the Republic of Ireland and registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736)
The search for the swimmer who went missing on Tuesday evening off Tullan Strand in Bundoran is now in its 6th day. A sizeable search party including Bundoran RNLI, Killybegs Coast Guard, Irish Coast Guard, Irish Defence Forces, Irish Air Corps, Irish Naval Service, Civil Defence, Donegal Mountain Rescue Team and the Garda Siochana continue to search the area in the hope of finding the man. The search area is concentrating on the Tullan Strand area and also along the coastline of Donegal Bay.
The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI Lifeboat were this evening (Tuesday 23rd August) requested to launch to reports of swimmers in difficulty off Tullan Strand in Bundoran. An emergency call had been placed to Malin Head Coast Guard just before 6pm and within minutes the lifeboat was in the water and heading to the scene.
Members of the shore crew also went to the cliffs to assist the operation. On arriving at Tullan Strand, in a very heavy breaking swell, the lifeboat and the Rescue 118 helicopter commenced a search for one missing swimmer who was part of a group of 5 males. It is believed the other four were able to make their own way to shore with the assistance of local surfers. Members of An Garda Siochana and the Defence Forces also helped with the search whilst HSE ambulances treated two of the swimmers for intake of water, who were subsequently taken to Sligo University Hospital.
Following an extensive search nothing was found and the search will resume at daylight tomorrow morning. (24th August).
The RNLI held its Annual Presentation of Awards at the Guinness Storehouse on Friday (17 June 2016) where the charity presented 56 individual awards to volunteers from across the country. Two of the awardees were from Bundoran in Donegal.
The awardees were honoured for their significant contribution to the RNLI in Ireland and years of dedicated and committed service to the charity. Many awardees were fundraising volunteers, recognised for years of service to the charity, while others were lifeboat crew who collected their long-service badges after many years on the lifeboat.
Guest of honour at the ceremony was outgoing RNLI Chairman Charles Hunter-Pease who will step down later this year after a successful term as Chairman of the Institution.
Speaking to the awardees and their friends and family during the ceremony, Charles Hunter-Pease commented; ‘To everyone receiving an award, whether their service has been at sea or ashore, please wear it with pride. It is the mark of someone very special, selflessly dedicated to the lives of others.’
‘Every day, all around our coastline, people come together to do something incredible for someone they’ve probably never met. Lifeboat crews put to sea not knowing what situation they will face. It also takes determination to raise funds. It’s a determination that sees people raise astonishing sums to keep our service running, and that is no small feat, it requires endless talent, imagination and energy.’
Mr. David Delamer Chairperson of the RNLI Council in Ireland formally opened the proceeded and welcomed the volunteers and their families to the ceremony. The citations for each awardee were read by Emma Gibson RNLI Area Manager and Owen Medland RNLI Divisional Operations Manager for Ireland central.
The Donegal awardees’ citations were as follows:
Mr Frank Bourke from Bundoran RNLI Branch received a Gold Badge.
Frank has been the Bundoran Branch Chairman since 1989 and in 2009 he took on the role of Secretary. Frank leads by example, always present at events regardless of the weather and his wise council ensures the smooth running of the Branch.
Mr Patrick McMorrow also from Bundoran fundraising Branch received a Gold Badge. Patrick has been the Treasurer of Bundoran Fundraising Branch, which is a branch since 1989. During that time he has maintained the accounts meticulously in a diligent manner. He is never shy where hard work is required. His dedication to the RNLI is clear and his helpful manner ensures that tasks are completed without fuss.
Awardees were present from across Ireland representing lifeboat stations and branches in Dublin, Wicklow, Galway, Cork, Waterford, Mayo, Wexford, Kerry, Donegal, Clare, Limerick and Athlone.
One of the highest honours of the evening went to Ian Walsh who recently retired as Lifeboat Operations Manager with Helvick Head RNLI. During the evening, along with the Honorary Lifeboat Governorship award, there were 31 Gold Badges, 12 Bar to Gold Badges, one Certificate of Thanks and 12 Long Service Badges, presented by the RNLI Chairman.
Photos below courtesy Tara Murphy/RNLI
The 5th annual Bundoran Lifeboat Soapbox Race took place on Sunday afternoon at Astoria Road Bundoran amid perfect weather conditions. Thousands lined the street to watch the thrills and spills of the event organised and staged by the volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI to raise funds for the lifeboat. Competitors came from near and far to take part with some comical antics from the aptly named happy jivers from Roslea, Co. Fermanagh providing the crowd with much amusement.
Some longboard skating kept the assembled crowd entertained until it was time for the main event itself. 18 soapbox racers competed for the title of champions and it eventually came down to a local derby - OK Cabs (winners of the first soapbox race in 2012) and Ward Automation (title holders since the 2014 event). The battle was fierce but Ward Automation emerged victors in the end and held on to the perpetual trophy for yet another year.
The much anticipated €1000 ball race wrapped up the afternoon's activities with the cash being won by 6 year old Robbie Barron from Grange in County Sligo.
Speaking on Sunday evening, Event director Cormac McGurren said 'this has been another hugely successful fundraising event for Bundoran RNLI and we would like to thank all those who participated in the soapbox race and who came to watch for their continued support and generosity. A special word of thanks goes to our sponsors particularly Carty Contractors without whose help the event would not have been the success that it was. I would also like to recognise the assistance of Donegal County Council and the hard work of our volunteer crew and ball sellers on the day.'
All proceeds on the day go to the upkeep of the Bundoran lifeboat and the training of the volunteer crew.
The eagerly anticipated Bundoran RNLI Soapbox Race makes its return to Bundoran’s Astoria Road on Bank Holiday Sunday 5 June.
Following last year’s cancellation of the event due to unfavourable weather conditions, the volunteer lifeboat crew are this year determined to make the fundraising event even better than ever.
The current holders of the title of Soapbox Champions are Bundoran’s Ward Automation and they are anxious to retain their title.
Spectators can expect the usual excitement that they have grown to expect since the event began back in 2012 with participants encouraged to begin the build of their soapbox so that it is ready on time. The €1,000 ball race will also make a welcome return on the day with balls being sold for €5 - each ball is numbered and then released down the hill. The first ball through the funnel at the end will win the €1,000 which has been donated by local businesses. Balls will be on sale on the day.
The event will kick off at midday with a skate competition as local longboarders display their skills in advance of the soapbox race. The soapbox race will follow with the day coming to a close with the ball race.
Cormac McGurren, Bundoran RNLI Event Coordinator is encouraging all budding soapboxers to start building: ‘The countdown is on and we want to see as many soapboxes taking part as is possible. We would love to see all the local businesses involved and competing against each other to have plenty of friendly rivalry on the day. We would also encourage locals and visitors alike to come along and enjoy a good day out. All proceeds raised will go to helping our volunteers in Bundoran to continue to save lives at sea.’
All the details of the day can be found on our website www.bundoranlifeboatsoapboxrace.com and you can also download a registration form from there as well. This is a great family day out and we look forward to seeing many of our supporters on Sunday June 5th.
The volunteer crew of Bundoran RNLI lifeboat were requested to launch this evening (Saturday 9th April) to reports of surfers in difficulty off Tullaghan in County Leitrim.
The 999 call was made by a member of the public who noticed the surfers struggling to make their way back to shore.
Within minutes the lifeboat launched in challenging conditions and made its way to the scene where the Sligo based Rescue 118 helicopter, who were returning from another incident, had already lifted one of the surfers out of the water. The other surfer was then lifted from the water by the lifeboat. The helicopter landed and handed over the surfer they had lifted to RNLI shore crew. Neither surfer needed medical assistance.
On their return to the the lifeboat station Bundoran RNLI Helm Brian Gillespie said 'the surfers had luck on their side with the helicopter passing and our lifeboat being able to launch in such challenging conditions. The outcome was positive on this occasion and we are thankful we were able to get to the surfers on time. We would like to remind anyone who sees anyone in trouble on the coast to ring 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard.
(Picture shows Bundoran Lifeboat rescue at Tullaghan 090416 with Rescue 118 - pic Mark Kelly)
Lifeboat Press Officer