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New ships for Coast Guard, says Varadkar

THE Coast Guard's ageing fleet is to get two new vessels over the next two years.

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has confirmed that almost €4.4m in funding will also be allocated to the service for the coming year along with an annual grant of €150,000 to the RNLI.

Mr Varadkar was speaking during a visit to thank volunteers at the Coast Guard Station in Howth, Co Dublin.

"The Coast Guard performs an essential role all year round," he said.

Coast Guard director Chris Reynolds said 2011 had been one of the busiest for the service since its foundation.

The Coast Guard responded to nearly 2,000 incidents during the year, resulting in 163 lives being saved and more than 3,300 people being helped.

Its helicopters alone performed 551 missions during the year.

Irish Independent