RNLI volunteers in Galway lifeboat stations are facing the Perfect Storm
As Christmas approaches, RNLI lifeboat crews based in Galway, Clifden and the Aran Islands are issuing their own call for help. The charity is facing a Perfect Storm, with lifeboat crews busier than ever and more people needing their help.
Support from the public is vital as the three Galway based stations will have volunteers on call throughout Christmas and the New Year.
RNLI volunteers in Galway are no strangers to Christmas launches with the all three lifeboat stations having launched on Christmas day in the past. Since 2015 there have been ten lifeboat launches on Christmas day.
One family that are very grateful to have the RNLI on call is the O’Connell’s from Inis Mór on the Aran Islands. Their son Jack was born in 2009 and from about nine months old, he suffered with tonsillitis every few months. One Christmas Day, in 2012, things took a turn for the worse and Jack’s tonsils swelled up so severely that he had difficulty breathing. He was rushed to Rossaveal by lifeboat and transferred to hospital for urgent treatment. Thankfully Jack recovered and his father, Daniel, was so grateful for the help of the local lifeboat crew that he joined up as a volunteer.
Jack’s mum Lena O’Connell spoke about why she supports the RNLI and is backing the Perfect Storm appeal. ‘We were very grateful that night for our wonderful volunteer crew, who without hesitation, stepped away from their families on Christmas Day to bring our little man to Hospital. The RNLI is a huge party of our family, my father was a crew member and my mom is the treasurer and a fundraiser for the Aran Islands RNLI. Having spent years helping mom with fundraising events, this past March, I took over as Volunteer Press officer for our Station. You can say the lifeboat is in our blood.’
Last year, Galway’s lifeboats launched 78 times, bringing 43 people to safety.
To ensure the RNLI can continue its lifesaving work this Christmas and into the future, the charity is running a major fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm.
Galway RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Mike Swan added, ‘We don’t think anything of being on call at Christmas – it’s what we do and what we’re trained for. Christmas is just like any other day for our volunteer crew, if someone needs our help, it really doesn’t matter what day of the year it is. But we couldn’t do what we do without the support of the public.
This year was a memorable one for the volunteers with Clifden RNLI, as they received the first Shannon class lifeboat to be put on service on the west coast of Ireland. Alongside their inshore lifeboat the crew are ready to leave their Christmas dinner if they get the call for help. Clifden RNLI Coxswain James Mullen said, ‘It was an honour to be the first lifeboat station on the west coast to receive the latest in lifeboat technology. With both lifeboats we can work close to shore and out to a hundred miles in all weathers. We don’t know what we will face but we train to be ready for every situation.’
To support the RNLI’s Perfect Storm appeal this Christmas, helping to ensure the charity’s brave volunteers can continue saving lives at sea, please visit RNLI.org/ThePerfectStorm
Photo: 855. Dad and Aran Island lifeboat volunteer Daniel with his son Jack today
Photo: 5723 Aran Islands Lifeboat crewmember Daniel O’Connell, with Jack’s grandmother Margaret Jackie Gill along with Jack, Olive and Eoghan at the Aran Islands Lifeboat station in 2016 Photo: The female Volunteer Lifeboat Crew in Galway during a pre-Christmas training evening at the lifeboat station based in Galway city.
Photo: The volunteer lifeboat crew at Clifden RNLI onboard their new Shannon class lifeboat.
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, RNLI Ireland Media Manager on 087 1254 124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, RNLI Ireland Media Officer on 087 648 3547 or email Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk
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 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. 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 142,700 lives.