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Sunday 19 November 2017

My husband is a fisherman and it's a comfort the Coast Guard can be there for them

Roisín McBride (30), technical business analyst and Coast Guard volunteer, Donegal

Coast Guard volunteer Roisin McBride at cliffs near Mulroy, north Donegal. Photo: Martin Fleming
Coast Guard volunteer Roisin McBride at cliffs near Mulroy, north Donegal. Photo: Martin Fleming

Many of those who volunteer for sea rescue work have grown up in fishing communities. The importance of the sea as a means to make a living is ever-present in their minds.

Like many Donegal natives, Roisín McBride has long had an understanding of this. "My husband, Brian, is a deep-sea fisherman," she says, "and he can be 80 miles out to sea for up to four weeks at a time. Fishermen can work in a challenging environment and it gives them comfort to know the Coast Guard can be out to them if something goes wrong."

McBride has been on the volunteer crew at Mulroy Coast Guard for the past nine years. Like all her teammates, she was greatly saddened by Rescue 116 tragedy last month. "A lot of people in communities around Mulroy and Sheephaven Bay would be very familiar with the Coast Guard helicopter flying overhead. They would have been very upset to hear what happened. It was the same when Caitríona Lucas [from Doolin Coast Guard, Co Clare] died on a mission last year."

There are three distinct elements to Coast Guard work - rescue on land, sea and cliff.

"All of them can be arduous in their own way," McBride says, "but it's very important to keep up with the training and drills. You simply can't get stale doing this sort of work."

She says she is indebted to family members who look after her two young children, often at very short notice. "I'm a stay-at-home mum at present so I do rely on other people to help me free up time. "It's a good feeling when you're part of a team that helps to save someone's life, and it's tough in those instances where there are fatalities. But, hard as this might sound, you have to move on and not let it get to you too much. You comfort yourself by saying you did as much as you could."

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