Wednesday 22 May 2019

Fethard lifeboat is officially named

Tony Molloy, Deputy Launching Authority, accepts the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI from Joe Moore, Area Lifesaving Manager, RNLI
Tony Molloy, Deputy Launching Authority, accepts the lifeboat on behalf of the RNLI from Joe Moore, Area Lifesaving Manager, RNLI
Brian Stafford, Former Chairperson of the Fethard Lifeboat Management Group, officially name the new lifeboat
Mark, Evan, Kelli and Theresa Brennan

Brendan Keane

Fethard RNLI has officially named its new lifeboat Naomh Dubhán, at a ceremony where the emphasis was firmly placed on community.

Volunteers with the local branch gathered at the lifeboat station over the weekend to witness the naming ceremony and service of dedication and they were joined by a large group of people from within the local community in addition to fundraisers, members of the station management team and operations crew.

In his opening address John Hearne, Chairperson of the Fethard Lifeboat Management Group, spoke of the 'incredible support' the lifeboat volunteers receive from their loved ones.

'For each volunteer with a role here at the station there are several more people in the background,' he said.

He added those people 'maybe didn't actually volunteer at all for the job of being the one to keep family life on track while their other half is off life boating'. 'When the pagers go off and the 34 active operational members drop everything and hurry here to the station there could be someone waiting at home,' he said.

'While we sing the praises of the active volunteers today I want you to spare a thought for their support crew who enable them to carry on.'

Oonagh Hearne-Messette, Chairperson of the Fethard Fundraising Group, represented all the members of the community who raised the money to buy the €65,000 lifeboat. At the ceremony she passed the lifeboat into the care of RNLI Headquarters, which was represented by Joe Moore, the Area Lifesaving Manager.

In her speech Ms Hearne-Messette spoke of the work done since the fundraising appeal was launched on February 20, 2016.

'We completed the task in under a year,' she said.

'The fundraisers I am representing here are from Rinn Dubhán, which is the whole peninsula, and from Carrig-on-Bannow, up to New Ross, over the river to Waterford and up to Dublin,' she added.

'The range of events and the money raised really shows the community spirit and commitment to our Lifeboat and by extension, the RNLI,' she added. She made special mention of the Waves Festival event held at Loftus Hall, which raised half of the money required, and said: 'The support of Aidan Quigley, his family and staff; the sponsors, the volunteers on the day, and the organisational skill and determination of Rebecca Doyle led to an amazing and unique event.'

As part of the ceremony the lifeboat was passed from into the care of the station and its volunteers who were represented by Tony Molloy, the Fethard RNLI Deputy Launching Authority.

He said it was sad to say farewell to the branch's previous boat, Tradewinds, which served the station for the last 10 years, but added that with an eye to the future the ceremony was a very positive event for the RNLI and the community.

'We look forward to writing a new chapter in the station's history with the arrival of this new D-class lifeboat,' he said.

'A fast and agile rescue boat, the D-class can be operated in surf, and in shallow water close to the beach,' he added.

'Because of its size it is easily transported by road and launched at a number of different launch sites around the area [including] Fethard Dock, Slade, Duncannon, Ballyhack, St Kearns, Barrystown and Cullenstown, depending on the location of the reported casualty.'

During the ceremony music was provided by Fethard RNLI Flash Mob Choir and Rev. Ivan Dungan carried out the Service of Dedication which included the lifeboat prayer.

The name Naomh Dubhán was chosen in recognition of the saint who came to the Hook Peninsula from Wales in AD 452 and established a monastery. It is believed that St Dubhán lit the first warning beacon for ships on the Hook Peninsula shortly after his arrival.

This beacon was maintained by monks for 700 years until Hook lighthouse was built.

New Ross Standard