New Coast Guard fleet 'as good as you'll find anywhere in Europe'

The entire Irish Coast Guard fleet has been upgraded with the unveiling of a new search and rescue helicopter for the Dublin region today.

Last year was one of the busiest on record for the Coast Guard with 33% more incidents than the previous year.

Part of the rise is being attributed to the fine summer weather.

The Coast Guard dealt with a total of 2,627 missions involving fishing boats, leisure craft and mountaineers.

The new helicopter can also be used to transport patients for the HSE.

Director of the Irish Coastguard Chris Reynolds says the new helicopter is state-of-the-art.

"It means that the helicopters can get there quicker, they can find you more efficiently, they can rescue out of the water or off the cliff quicker - and when you get to the back of the helicopter basically it's a flying ambulance, so he can look after you better before you get to hospital," he said.

"I think the Irish Coast Guard have in place probably as good as you'll find anywhere in Europe and probably anywhere in the world."

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