Dun Laoghaire RNLI volunteers facing the Perfect Storm this Christmas

Lifeboats News Release

- Christmas Eve ceremony to remember loved ones who have drowned and the 1895 lifeboat crew drowned during a rescue

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Mechanic Kieran O'Connell and Coxswain Mark McGibney

RNLI/David Branigan

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Lifeboat Mechanic Kieran O'Connell and Coxswain Mark McGibney

As Christmas approaches, the RNLI is issuing its own call for help as the charity’s volunteer lifeboat crews are getting busier. The charity is facing a ‘Perfect Storm’ with more people than ever needing its help, meaning support from the public is more vital than ever.

Last year, Irish lifeboats launched 1,066 times coming to the aid of 1,441 people,19 of whom were lives saved. Locally, Dun Laoghaire RNLI’s two lifeboats launched 43 times, bringing 54 people to safety and this year’s looks like a busy one too.

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.

While many people will be thinking about presents, turkey and time with the family, dedicated RNLI volunteers will be ensuring their yellow wellies and lifejackets are ready for when the call comes and will be prepared to drop everything at a moment’s notice to save lives at sea.

Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat crew also launch every Christmas Eve to remember a lifeboat tragedy from another century which saw 15 lifeboat volunteers lost and to remember all those who have drowned in Ireland. The ceremony which is held at the end of the East pier every Christmas Eve at 12 noon has become an important one to everyone involved in Dun Laoghaire RNLI and is a reminder that there are those who are ready to keep others safe and bring loved ones home every day of the year.

Two of the Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat crew who will be on call over the Christmas and ready to launch if they are needed are the Coxswain Mark McGibney and the Station Mechanic Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell.

Speaking about his role in the station Coxswain Mark McGibney said, ‘It’s an honour to hold the position of Coxswain with the Dun Laoghaire lifeboat. We operate two lifeboats here and we are one of the busiest lifeboat stations in Ireland. Our kit, our training, our fuel and our lifeboats are all possible through the generosity of the public and it’s something we don’t take for granted.’

The ceremony we hold on Christmas Eve has become an important event for us. As well as remembering the fifteen-volunteer lifeboat crew that died when their lifeboat capsized in gale force winds while attempting to rescue those on board the SS Palme that had run aground off Blackrock, we remember all those who have drowned. Everyone is welcome to attend and remember loved ones.’

Dun Laoghaire RNLI lifeboat mechanic Kieran ‘Colley’ O’Connell is a familiar face to people in Dun Laoghaire. As well as station mechanic Colley is also an unofficial ambassador for the station, talking to people about the work of the lifeboat crew and attracting new volunteers. Speaking about the Perfect Storm appeal he wants to thank those who continue to support the work of the RNLI.

‘We are very lucky here in Dun Laoghaire to have two magnificent lifeboats front and centre at one of the most popular piers. It’s my job to make sure the all-weather lifeboat is in top condition and will take the lifeboat crew out to sea and back home safely, carrying those who need to be rescued and reunited with loved ones. It’s a role I take very seriously and I’m very proud to do it. To everyone who supports the lifeboats and gives so generously I want to say a huge thank you. Your continued support means that we can continue to do what we do. Everyone is welcome to attend our Christmas Eve ceremony and we wish everyone a peaceful Christmas.’

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

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For more information please contact Niamh Stephenson, Regional Media Manager on 00353 871254124 or Niamh_Stephenson@rnli.org.uk or Nuala McAloon, Regional Media Officer on 00353 876483547 or Nuala_McAloon@rnli.org.uk

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney with Lifeboat Mechanic Kieran O'Connell

RNLI/David Branigan

Dun Laoghaire RNLI Coxswain Mark McGibney with Lifeboat Mechanic Kieran O'Connell

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.

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Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 (UK) or 1800 991802 (Ireland) or or by email.