An Irish Coast Guard Volunteers Representative Association has been launched, five years on from the death of coastguard volunteer Caitríona Lucas.
The ICGVRA will consist of current and former volunteers, and was launched in Kilkee over the bank holiday weekend following a commemoration for Ms Lucas, who died at Kilkee in Co Clare on 12 September 2016.
It will be chaired by John O'Mahoney and represent the concerns of Irish Coast Guard volunteers.
Ms Lucas was the first Irish Coast Guard member to lose their life while on duty. She was involved in a search operation near Kilkee before the Delta Rib she was in capsized.
Her husband had previously called for the establishment of such an association to allow for volunteers to air their concerns.
During a ceremony commemorating Ms Lucas ahead of the launch, her daughter Emma placed a wreath for her mother on the cliff top beside where she died.
Many volunteers both past and present also spoke movingly at the event about the importance of having an independent association to represent their interests.
"In the history of the Irish Coast Guard there has never been an independent voice to speak on behalf of the volunteers as a collective, to ensure that the well-being of volunteers from their perspective is at the heart of best practice policies," Mr O’Mahoney said.
He added: "We need to be here to offer support and help to all IRCG members both past and present, to assist in resolving any issues that they may have struggled with, and to work with IRCG Management to ensure best practice prevails so that issues do not arise, if possible, in the first place."
The Association has said it is now seeking an urgent meeting with Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, and has said their concerns are to be raised at the next meeting of the Transport and Communications Committee.