The scrapping of plans to build a €1.5 million Sea Survival Training Centre at Greencastle has been criticised as “outrageous” today by Donegal Senator Pádraig Mac Lochlainn.
There was shock and disappointment following confirmation from Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) that they do not intend to proceed with building the new state of the art facility.
Answers are now being demanded from the Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed.
Senator Mac Lochlainn is seeking a commitment from the Minister that his department will ensure that BIM has the financial resources to deliver on this project that had been first announced in 2016.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said: “This is an outrageous and reckless decision. This €1.5 million centre was announced back in 2016, just before the general election by government politicians including Minister Joe McHugh.”At the time, it was stated that the new centre would include the development of a fifteen metre simulator pool, an elevated platform equipped with a wave machine, water spray unit and fans capable of simulating the type of extreme weather conditions fishermen are often faced with.
“And that the centre would also be equipped with two changing areas, a self-contained heating unit which can maintain water temperatures of 23-28 degrees Celsius, as well as a water treatment unit and a new classroom which can accommodate sixteen students.
“This would allow the college to replicate weather conditions and provide a more extensive training course with the only other centre of its kind to be found in Cork at the other end of the island.”.
Senator Mac Lochlainn said he will not accept that this promised centre was “just another pre-election political stunt”.
He added: “I have submitted parliamentary questions to the Minister for the Marine, Michael Creed and I am demanding answers from BIM. I have also requested that the Minister ensure that his department officials meet with BIM to establish how they can ensure that the financial resources are available to make this essential centre a reality.
“Surely we have learned from too many tragedies at sea how important it is to train and test our fishers in surroundings that accurately reflect the tough conditions that they will face at sea.”