Irish lifeboat HQ in Swords is opened by the President
THE Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) is a classic example of the phenomenal, unselfish, generous voluntary endeavour that goes on in Ireland around the clock, week in and week out, year in and year out without thought of thanks or recognition. High praise indeed from President Mary McAleese at the opening of the RNLIs new Irish headquarters at Airside in Swords
THE Royal National Lifeboat Institute (RNLI) is a classic example of the phenomenal, unselfish, generous voluntary endeavour that goes on in Ireland around the clock, week in and week out, year in and year out without thought of thanks or recognition.
High praise indeed from President Mary McAleese at the opening of the RNLI’s new Irish headquarters at Airside in Swords last week in a speech that launded the commitment and dedication of the many lifeboat volunteers around the country.
Due to the increasing complexity of lifeboats the RNLI needs a large technical support centre in Ireland. Equipment on lifeboats has become more advanced and the level of training for volunteers is therefore more demanding.
The RNLI has merged the divisional base with the fundraising and communications office to create a place that can accommodate workshops, stores, offices and conference facilities for volunteers and fundraisers.
President McAleese said that in the RNLI, you find men and women who were prepared to risk their lives at any moment for people who may be complete strangers and even occasionally complete fools.
‘What you do is done the way heroes do things, quietly, self-effacingly and well,’ she remarked.
Representatives from all 43 lifeboat stations in Ireland were in attendance along with supporters and staff.
She said the opening of the new base marked the culmination of a long, hectic period of intensive work, planning and fundraising, adding that it was ‘proof positive’ of the remarkable capabilities of the RNLI. She said the new HQ answered those who wondered about the future of Ireland’s spirit of volunteerism.
‘It says comprehensively that the spirit of courage and selflessness, which has been the hallmark of the RNLI since its foundation is flourishing and is set to continue for many years to come.
‘If there is fear you don’t look for an easy out, if there is discomfort you do not complain, if there is danger you face it. And by some miracle you get a deep personal fulfilment from all this giving which keeps you involved, keeps you faithful to the RNLI often over a lifetime.
Sir Jock Slater, Chairman of the RNLI, stated: ‘Last year in Ireland RNLI crews rescued 1,161 people and launched a total of 916 times. ‘We depend on our committed volunteers, our 1,500 crewmembers, shore helpers and station management and our 2,000 fundraisers in Ireland.
‘This substantial investment demonstrates our commitment to saving lives at sea around the coast of Ireland and on two inland waterways at Lough Derg and Enniskillen.
‘Our volunteers deserve every bit of support we can give them and this new state of the art facility will provide that.’
The RNLI provides on call, 24 hour lifeboat service to cover search and rescue up to 100 nautical miles off the coast of Ireland.
The crews are made up of volunteers from all walks of life that give up their time and comfort to carry out rescues and train for them, in difficult and often dangerous conditions.
ABOVE: President Mary McAleese unveiles a plaque at the opening of the RNLI HQ at Airside Swords as Sir Jock Slater, Chairman of the RNLI, looks on. Pic Kieran Corrigan