Aran Islands

  • It's been a busy week for the Aran Islands RNLI as the volunteer crew were called out to help a tourist who fell on rocky ground yesterday evening.

    The crew were asked to launch the all-weather lifeboat at 6pm following a request from the Irish Coast Guard to transport a patient to Rossaveal Harbour and on to a waiting ambulance.

     The American tourist, who was on a trip to Inis Mór at the time, had fallen on rocky terrain and sustained a suspected fractured ankle.

    The casualty was brought by lifeboat to Rossaveal, and then taken to hospital by ambulance.

     Aran Islands RNLI Coxswain John O’Donnell said medical evacuations are a routine part of the lifeboat’s work on the islands.

    Earlier this week, the same volunteer crew had two call-outs on Monday night -one for a medical evacuation and the second to assist a lone sailor who yacht ran aground in Kilronan Harbour.



  • Aran Islands responded to two medical evacuations yesterday evening.

    The volunteer crew members were asked to launch their all-weather Severn class lifeboat “David Kirkaldy, at 4.50pm by the Irish Coast Guard.

    An elderly man on the neighbouring Island of Inis Meain had sustained an injury from an earlier fall and required further medical attention.

    Weather conditions at the time of launching were choppy.

    Once the patient was transferred safely aboard and under the supervision of the volunteer crew members, the lifeboat headed straight for Rossaveal harbour and the awaiting ambulance.

    The volunteer crew members were then asked to launch their lifeboat at 11.05pm last night by the Irish Coast Guard as a sick man on Inis Mór required further medical attention.

    The lifeboat launched under Coxswain John O'Donnell and a full crew once again. 

    Conditions were again choppy at sea, with a 2m swell and a west to south westerly force 6-8 wind.

    With the patient safely aboard the lifeboat and under the supervision of the volunteer crew members, the lifeboat made her way to Rossaveal harbour and the awaiting ambulance for transfer. 

  • Aran Islands RNLI responded to consecutive calls for help today, carrying out two medical evacuations.

    The volunteer crew were first asked to launch their all-weather lifeboat David Kirkaldy, at 11.25am by the Irish Coast Guard.

    An elderly man required medical attention on the Island of Inis Meáin.

    The lifeboat launched under Coxswain Pete Hanscombe and a full crew. 

    Weather conditions were moderate at the time with a force 3 light South East wind.

    Once alongside the pier in Inis Meain, the patient was transferred safely aboard the lifeboat and brought under the supervision of the volunteer crew members.

    While preparing to leave the pier in Inis Meain, the lifeboat received another call, this time to go to the aid of a woman on Inis Mór who was also in need of further medical attention. 

    The lifeboat headed straight for Inis Mór and once alongside the Pontoon, the patient was transferred safely aboard and put under the supervision of the lifeboat crew.

    The lifeboat then proceeded on to Rossaveal harbour where the crew transferred the patients on to a waiting ambulance. 

  • Cape Clear off the coast of Cork and the Aran Islands have been selected by the European Commission for a new clean energy initiative.

    The islands will develop a plan to become self-reliant by harnessing wind, solar power and sea waves.

    24 other European islands inhabited by over 2,000 residents have been selected for the programme which will eventually benefit from EU funding.

    Grace Bolton of the European Commission office in Ireland says the initiative will see Cape Clear and the Aran Islands dramatically reduce their energy costs.

  • Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for the Irish language, the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Seán Kyne TD, has announced today that his Department has reached agreement with Galway Aviation Services Limited (trading as Aer Arann Islands) in relation to the Aran Islands air service and Connemara Airport.

    Under this arrangement, Heads of Agreement setting out a process under which negotiations can proceed with regard to the potential purchase of Connemara Airport by the Department, has been signed by both parties.

    The contract under which the airport is made available for the provision of the air service has been extended up until September 2021 and Aer Arann Islands has agreed to continue providing the air service up until 20 December 2018.  These agreements will allow both parties to conclude the above-mentioned negotiations in the months ahead.  Also during this period, the Department will immediately issue a Request for Tender for interim service, under a contract which will operate from 21st December 2018 to 30th September 2019.  A further tender process to award a four-year contract will be undertaken while this short-term contract is in operation.

  • Fears are growing over the future of an air service for the Aran Islands as the deadline for the termination of Aer Arann’s service comes closer.

    Aer Arann will end its Public Service Obligation flights to the islands from December 6th.

    In a dispute over the terms of its four year contract with the Government, Aer Arann served notice last June that it intended to end the four year PSO contract early.

    The row between the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Aer Arann centres on an "adjustment" to the PSO payments made to the company, in the event it operates additional "non PSO" flights.

    The service provider contends this makes the business unviable, the department maintains the contract clearly set out these terms.

    Galway West Fianna Fail TD Eamon O Cuiv says these are very worrying times for staff at the company and in particular the islanders.

    Deputy O Cuiv says he will be meeting with Minister of State Joe McHugh on Thursday and is hopeful of getting a clearer picture on the saga from that discussion.

  • A Galway TD says the contract that Aer Árann was awarded in January 2017 to operate PSO flights to and from the Aran Islands was totally unsuitable and there is now an opportunity to reinstate the service that was in place prior to that.

    Fianna Fail Deputy Eamon O’Cuiv says that up until now any flight that went to the island prior to the present contact, were the same cost to the islanders or the visitors as the PSO flights in the morning and evening.

    Figures show that the numbers carried on the flights are down by 25% compared to what they used to be.

    Aer Árann has notified the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht that it is to terminate its contract to operate Public Service Obligation (PSO) flights to the Aran Islands.

    The company has served six months notice of its intention to end services in a dispute over the way in which the PSO contract is being interpreted.

    The agreement covers around 3,500 flights to and from the three Aran Islands each year.

    It is understood there are disagreements between Aer Árann and the Department about charges imposed for flights not covered by the contract.

    Deputy O’Cuiv told Midwest News that while he is disappointed to hear that Aer Árann is terminating its contract – an opportunity now exists to improve the service.

  • Shannon Airport may be used as a link base with the Aran Islands if efforts to resolve difficulties with the contract held by Aer Arann Islands fail. That’s according to today’s Irish Times.

    However, the Department of the Gaeltacht and Islands has offered to discuss a possible purchase of the Connemara airstrip owned by Independent Senator Pádraig Ó Céidigh which serves the three islands.

    Incoming Minister for Gaeltacht and Islands Seán Kyne said the department “will be talking” to Shannon Airport authorities about flying in there after December 6th if no agreement is reached with the present carrier.

    He said the department is also “progressing” arrangement of a short-term contract competition. This is to ensure the service continues and it is also looking at possible acquisition of a site to build its own airstrip in the long term if there is no agreement.

  • Aran Islands RNLI’s volunteer lifeboat crew spent nine hours at sea last night to help bring a sick fisherman to safety.

    The crew were requested to launch their all-weather lifeboat by the Irish Coast Guard at 9.45pm last night and go to the aid of the sick fisherman on a French vessel approximately 40 miles west of the Aran Islands. 

    The lifeboat under Coxswain Mairtín O'Flaithearta, was requested to assist the crew of the Irish Coast Guard’s helicopter Rescue 115 from Shannon who had been tasked earlier in the night and were already providing casualty care on scene and had attempted to winch the casualty to safety.

     Once on scene, a lifeboat crew member was transferred on to fishing vessel to assist the helicopter crew. A transfer to the lifeboat was attempted but due to the height of the vessel and the swell this was not possible.

    The lifeboat proceeded to escort the vessel north of the Island where there was more shelter and the swell was only 1m. By this time the fisherman was well enough to be winched by the Irish Coast Guard helicopter and airlifted to hospital.

    The Aran Islands RNLI all-weather lifeboat returned home at 6.30am this morning.