An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar visited the club on Saturday, 1st December and was accompanied by Minister Richard Bruton TD and the Mayor of Fingal Anthony Lavin. The visit had been arranged by Senator Catherine Noone to help discuss issues facing the club. The delegation had earlier met the local fishermen and focused on the issues pertaining to the harbour.
At a reception in the club, the Commodore outlined the challenges facing the club and in particular the dredging issue which has become critically urgent and outlined the impact that it was having for the club and the likely future impact. It was also pointed out that the silting of the harbour is severly compromising commercial activity and also rescue services such as the RNLI .
The Taoiseach was aware of the issue and said that he had discussed it with the Minister for Agriculture and the Marine on the previous Thursday. He outlined that the cost of the dredging is considerable and that it has been categorised as a major infrastructural project.
Harbourmater Harry McLoughlin outlined the strong relationship between the club and the harbour authority and he reinforced the case for the dredging, highlighting the impact on Howth Yacht Club. The imminent appointment of the consultants is a major first step in this process, the second will be the granting of the planning permission and necessary licensing required to complete this major project.
In a discussion with the Taoiseach in the club’s Centenary Room, the Commodore also highlighted the impact that recent changes to drink-driving limits was having on all clubs and the fact that this will mean that many clubs will be under further financial pressure resulting from the subsequent reduction in trade and traditional revenues that clubs have been dependent upon. The Taoiseach then positively discussed potential new uses that the club premises could be used for.
Gold medallists Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove with Fingal Mayor Anthony Lavin, An Taoiseach, Senator Catherine Noone and Commodore Joe McPeake
Highlighting Howth Yacht Club’s ongoing sailing achievements, the Taoiseach was introduced to Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove – HYC’s U23 World Champions in the 49er class and he also got to meet with some of the club’s young Optimist sailors. The Commodore and other Flag Officers with Committee Members took the delegation on a walk-through of the club premises and gave them a brief outline of the club’s marina operation, of which they were very impressed.
The afternoon provided a very valuable interchange which afforded the club the opportunity to express its views at the highest level.