MALIN HEAD Coastguard station handled 393 emergency incidents during 2012 involving local coastguard units, RNLI personnel and the Donegal Mountain Rescue team.
While individual statistics are not available on which calls involved which rescue service, RNLI rescue statistics for the year will be published at the end of January.
Speaking in Howth this week Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar TD commended Coastguard Units and volunteers across Ireland for their hard work and commitment in assisting 2,593 people and saving 161 lives this year.
Figures for 2012, also show that crews responded to almost 2,000 incidents – making it the busiest year since the search and rescue service was formed in 1822.
While Malin Head Coastguard dealt with 393 incidents, Valentia dealt with 690 and the centre in Dublin dealt with 871 calls.
Volunteer rescue crews recovered 88 bodies during 2012 – the highest number on record.
The Coastguard statistics up to Saturday, December 28, detail the assistance provided in 1,963 incidents and show around an 8 per cent increase over 2011.
The Minister was speaking at a joint Coastguard/RNLI New Year training exercise at the north Dublin base on Sunday.
“The Coastguard performs an essential role all year round. I want to extend my sincere thanks to every staff member and volunteer for their efforts during 2012, and to their families who support them at every step.
“Funding for the Coastguard has been protected for the second year running in the Budget. Similarly, funding for the RNLI and Mountain Rescue will be maintained at current levels through to 2016. These are essential services and much of the cost is met by volunteers. But I particularly want to pay tribute to the huge number of volunteers who save lives every week of the year. Without these volunteers, it simply wouldn’t be possible to provide the same level of emergency response,” the minister said.
These volunteers include 900 in the Coastguard, 2,000 in the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, 300 community rescue boats and 500 mountain and cave rescue volunteers. They provide a 24 hour on-call service to respond to emergencies at sea, on cliffs and around coasts.
The minister re-affirmed that the three existing marine Rescue Co-ordination Centres including Malin Head, which play an important role in responding to the thousands of incidents, will remain open following a review. This brings certainty to an issue which has caused much local concern twice in recent years.