RNLI denies Shell donation will compromise service

 

THE ROYAL National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) has said that its rescue service would “never be compromised” by any donation to a fundraising appeal.

The RNLI was responding to concerns expressed by a Mayo fisherman this week over the organisation’s decision to accept a €200,000 donation from Shell EP Ireland, developers of the Corrib gas project.

Shell is to pay half the cost of developing a new inshore lifeboat service at Belmullet for the Ballyglass lifeboat station.

The donation is part of an initial €400,000 tranche from the Corrib Natural Gas Erris Development Fund, which was initiated on foot of a recommendation by former Government mediator Peter Cassells.

Belmullet GAA is to receive a similar donation of €200,000.

Erris fishermen Pat O’Donnell said early this week that fishermen were “very upset”, given the ongoing issues with the Corrib gas project and its impact on the marine environment.

“If we are involved in an incident at sea and need the lifeboat, will the response time be the same if it is known that we have spoken out over Corrib?” he asked.

In a statement, the RNLI said that its Ballyglass lifeboat appeal to raise €400,000 for the new inshore lifeboat began in 2006, and it was “delighted” at the Shell donation.

“The RNLI is a charity that is reliant on voluntary donations and legacies,” it said. “We are independent and our clear, single objective is to save lives at sea.”

“We have no legal or ethical reason to refuse the donation from the development fund, which is being used to support our life- saving work in the Blacksod [north Mayo] area,” it said.

“The RNLI has been involved in search and rescue off the Irish coast for 185 years. The lifeboat crews are trained to the highest standard and respond to all emergencies at sea in minutes,” the statement said.

“This service that the RNLI provides will continue as it has done for 185 years. No donation to any appeal will ever, or has ever, compromised this service,” it said.