New Coast Guard Station needed in Courtown?

By Dan Walsh

Twenty-three persons are working out of the “unfit for purpose” Courtown Coast Guard Station that consists of a single room operation with no toilet facilities and common changing facilities for both male and female crew members.

That is according to Courtown Coast Guard Officer, David Swinburne, who added; “We are basically sharing a ten by twenty-foot room. We are using the same sink to make tea and coffee as we are for washing up after incidents. It is worse than horrendous and just not fit for purpose.”

Mr. Swinburne has been informed by his Coast Guard Unit Sector Manager that the Office of Public Works were awaiting a letter from Wexford County Council to confirm that they had no suitable sites for the facility and, once that was received, the purchase of the private site could proceed. However, with the busy summer period looming and there is no sign of further movement.


CEO of Wexford County Council Tom Enright said that the matter ultimately rests with the OPW. “We’re very keen that the Coast Guard station situation is addressed and there is a site found for them so that they can have a suitable place. The Council very much supports that, but this is a matter for the OPW to find a site for them. It’s not for the Council,” stated Mr Enright.

The CEO added; “We currently don’t have a site that’s suitable available but there is a proposal to potentially do a land transfer for the old Bayview site. If the Bayview site comes into the ownership of the Council, we would look to make part of that available to the Coast Guard. Obviously, that is dependent on whether that transaction would go through,” said Mr Enright.

The proposal for the swap falls to a Section 183 decision and needs to go on the Council agenda and be voted on by the members of Wexford County Council before any decision is made.

“If there is to be a land swap done with the Bayview site, that will have to get planning approval. There may well also be a decision to be made by An Bord Pleanála. You’re looking at 12 to 18 months by the time there is any decision made. If that site was coming available, you’re looking at a year, a year and a half until something can start. That may not fit with the timeline of the OPW and Coast Guard so if they have found something suitable, I would encourage them to go ahead,” said Mr Enright.

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