Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Transport, Tourism and Sport, Timmy Dooley TD, has called on Minister Leo Varadkar to clarify when exactly his Department became aware of problems relating to some emergency beacons used in the marine sector.

Today, an urgent safety alert was issued by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for fishermen to check for a list of faulty Emergency Position Indication Radio (EPIRB) devices made by the company GME. These devices send out an emergency signal when a boat is submerged in water or capsizes.

“This is a very serious development and Minister Leo Varadkar has a number of questions to answer.

“The Minster needs to outline without delay when his Department first became aware of issues relating to the operability of these emergency beacons.

“What actions were taken by his Department, what contact has taken place between the manufacturers and the Department? What communications have been issued to the owners of this equipment? When was the Minister made aware and in what circumstances?

“There are six particular models that have been identified and I would urge all fishermen to urgently check their emergency beacons to see if they are identified as being part of the faulty group.

“This is an exceptionally serious situation and it is critical that every effort is made to identify all the faulty devices immediately and ensure that no further seafarers’ lives are put at unnecessary risk.”