Former Lough Neagh patrol boat the Vigilare going free to local charity

A Cygnus boat that's slightly smaller (8m) than the one on offer
A Cygnus boat that's slightly smaller (8m) than the one on offer

After seven years patrolling on Lough Neagh, a former DCAL Fisheries Protection Vessel is being offered to a community group or charity for free.

It is understood the 8.5m Cygnus has been out of action for a while and will need some work before it can be used.

A DCAL spokesperson said: “This boat, the Vigilare, has been replaced by the department. Now that the more modern Cú Mhara is patrolling Lough Neagh, it is no longer required.

“As there would be negligible financial return through the usual sale process, and as an alternative to scrapping, it has been decided to offer the vessel to groups who may be able to use it for the good of the community. We are currently inviting expressions of interest from community groups and registered charities. A tender process will then be carried out.

“Applicants will have to demonstrate that they can use the vessel for benefit of the wider community on Lough Neagh, in line with DCAL’s priorities of promoting equality while tackling poverty and social exclusion.”

If selected, an organisation will receive the boat as a gift. They will, however, need to complete work to bring the vessel to an operational standard. The boat was commissioned by the former Fisheries Conservancy Board in 2000.

The spokesperson added: “The Vigilare has played a key role in detecting and deterring illegal fishing on Lough Neagh and its tributaries. It has been an invaluable part of fisheries protection.”

Call 028 9051 5120 for details.