No Faith In Body Investigating Serious Accidents At Sea Says Husband Of Caitriona Lucas

Photo © Clare FM

The husband of the late Caitríona Lucas says he does not have faith in the body charged with investigating serious accidents at sea.

The Dooliln Coast Guard volunteer lost her life in an operation off Kilkee in September 2016.


The Oireachtas Transport Committee is being urged to overhaul the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, which has been branded as “not fit for purpose” by a scathing new assessment of its work.

In July of last year, the European Commission referred Ireland to the EU Court of Justice, for failing to uphold European law on “impartial” investigations of marine incidents.

It said had a “number of concerns” about the independence of members of the Marine Casualty Investigation Board, because they’re civil servents, which the EC felt was a conflict of interest.

Those members have since resigned their roles, but now the Department of Transport is looking to enact new legislation to bring Ireland further into line with European law.

As part of this the Department has sought a waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny to speed up the process.

But maritime lawyer Michael Kingston, who’s father died in the 1979 Whiddy Island Disaster, is urging Oireachtas members to resist it and examine closely the workings of the board.

He’s commissioned a report into MCIB investigations by Marine Hazard Limited, and sent it to TDs, to highlight his concerns.

Marine Hazard’s report looks at the MCIB’s investigtions into a number of incidents, including the probe into the death of Caitriona Lucas, who died during an operation off the coast of Kilkee in 2016.

Her husband Bernard says he doesn’t have faith in the Board, and is calling for investigations to be carried out in a fair and transparent manner.

The Oireachtas Transport Committee is meeting today, and it’s Chair, Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey has told Clare FM that he will raise the matter for discussion, and that the concerns should be further examined.

In a statement to Clare FM, the MCIB says it does not comment on published reports issued on the conclusion of its investigations.

It adds that while it may re-open investigations where there’s evidence to warrant that course of action, it’s not in receipt of any such requests or any objections by interested parties to recommendations it has made.