Captain McCabe is a qualified Master Mariner (Trinity College) who has extensive maritime experience in a variety of senior roles throughout a 35 year career with the Commissioners of Irish Lights. Among the roles undertaken by Captain McCabe during this period included serving as the First Master of the ILV Granuaile, before later being appointed to a variety of management positions within the Commissioners of Irish Lights, including Assistant Inspector, Deputy Head of Marine, Head of Marine, and Director of Operations and Navigation. He has also served as the President of the Irish Chamber of Shipping and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICoS), and is a current member of a number of marine bodies, including the Nautical Institute and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
The Seafood / ORE Working Group has been established to facilitate discussion on matters arising from the interaction of the seafood and offshore renewable energy industries, to promote and share best practice, and to encourage liaison with other sectors in the marine environment.
With regard to this specific role, Captain McCabe brings extensive knowledge of both the Seafood and ORE sectors, having previously worked with both in relation to maritime navigational safety. His work has enabled him to gain an extensive knowledge of the Irish coast and maritime activity across all sectors, and he brings a record of effective delivery of offshore engineering and navigation safety projects, which will prove valuable within the setting of this group.
Following the appointment, Minister O’Brien said, “I’m delighted to appoint someone of Robert’s vast experience and capability to this position. Throughout his career, Robert has demonstrated the type of qualities that this group requires, working with diverse marine groups to achieve win-win solutions by showing leadership, drive and determination to succeed. I also note that his specific expertise in safety at sea will prove extremely beneficial to the work of the group as the group progresses. I wish him the best of luck with the commencement of this working group, and have reminded him that my department officials will remain available to assist him throughout the duration of his appointment. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my colleagues the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, for their assistance in getting this group underway.”
Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, stated, “I welcome the appointment of the Chairperson and look forward to enhanced constructive engagement between both sectors. I recognise the marine space is a shared resource and the seafood sector delivers significant economic benefits, while sustaining many coastal communities. The establishment of offshore wind energy will create new opportunities and offers potential benefits for all, in addition to enhancing our energy security. The development of our offshore wind energy capacity will dramatically lessen our dependence on imported fossil fuels, and bring an unprecedented reduction in CO2 emissions for a climate neutral future.”
“Ireland’s maritime area is seven times the size of its landmass. We must seize this opportunity to shape our own energy future, and move closer to energy independence.”
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine, Charlie McConalogue, stated, “I am pleased that we now have a Chairperson appointed and can get this initiative up and running. Our seas are unquestionably our greatest natural resources. The challenge for all of us involved in the marine space is to find a pathway that recognises the value that our ocean territory has for our economy and that balances how we harness its natural resources. Food Vision 2030, the agri-food sector strategy adopted as government policy, calls for greater recognition, respect and support for primary producers for their key societal role in addressing our climate and biodiversity emergency. It is essential that the needs and experience of our seafood producers are factored into scoping, planning and designing of any offshore renewable energy projects and I hope that the sector representatives will support the work of the Chair in this regard.”