As part of the Croke Park Agreement, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport engaged a specialist International maritime transport management consultancy, Fisher Associates, to undertake value for money reviews of services provided by the Irish Coast Guard and the Marine Survey Office. The reports call for a comprehensive integrated programme of work to enhance maritime safety and emergency response services. The issues that have been identified are serious and have to be addressed, including significantly enhancing Coast Guard oil pollution response capacity and volunteer training and management.
I have informed the Government that my Department will consider the matters raised in the reports and prepare an action plan. I intend to present this action plan to Government in October. I have also made it clear that I do not propose to accept or reject any of the recommendations proposed by the Fishers Reports at this stage. In preparing the plan my Department will assess each recommendation and will prioritise actions to address the deficiencies. That process will call for tough decisions to be made. However, it is important to recognise that resources available to the maritime services are very limited and they have to be deployed on a prioritised basis and as effectively and efficiently as possible to address the most urgent needs.