Thursday 5 December 2019

Tilly arrives at Kilmore Quay in style

Tilly arrives at Kilmore Quay for the launch ceremony
Tilly arrives at Kilmore Quay for the launch ceremony
The handing over of ownership to the O’Flaherty family (from left): Denis O’Flaherty, Tilly O’Flaherty, Jacqueline Luyt and Patrick Koopman of the builders, Luyt Group, and Seamus O’Flaherty

Simon Bourke

Mother's Day may have long since passed but Tilly O'Flaherty has received a gift unlikely to be surpassed on mothering, or any other, Sunday.

Not content with purchasing her flowers or a box of chocolates, her four sons have furnished her with a multi-million euro vessel, a boat which is the first of its kind in the country.

However, although this boat bears her name it will not be solely in her possession, belonging as much to the people of the local community as the woman affectionately known as 'Tilly'.

Costing €2.7m Ireland's first newly built beam trawler docked in Kilmore Quay to be greeted by an excited welcoming party, among them the woman it was named after.

Denis O'Flaherty was instrumental in ensuring this impressive new addition to the fleet was named after his mother.

'Her real name is Mary but we've always known her as Tilly, she's 87 now.

We had to name it early on in the construction phase so she knew about it beforehand but she was delighted when she saw it.'

In addition to the proud mother, the local priest, Fr James Cogley, was on hand to bless the new ship, protecting her for what is sure to be countless successful voyages overseas.

Beginning operations in 1987, Denis and his brothers have developed their business incrementally, and the new arrival will mean further expansion and the creation of jobs in the area.

'The new boat will mean we'll hire four new crew members, and two new people in the factory.

It will have a €1m turnover, including the anicillaries and the engineering,' Denis explained.

Primarily used to fish for megrim, monkfish and turbot, all of which will then be exported to Spain, Tilly is 26 metres in length, with a beam of 6.8 metres and is powered by a Mitsubishi engine.

And she will be added to O'Flaherty's already considerable fleet, an array of vessels which Denis says are as much the community's as theirs.

'We regard our boats as part of the community, they're the people's boats we just look after the maintenance.

We have 19 vessels overall, and 80% of those are worked on by local men.'

One of the brothers most recognisable businesses in the area is Saltee's, which is run Saltees Fish which directly employs 20 staff at Kilmore Quay, and indirectly provides employment for over 100 fishermen.

The O'Flaherty's previously ran the Celtic Link ferry service which they eventually sold to Stena Line. Denis, along with his brothers, operate a number of businesses involved in the fishing industry and employs 130 people in Kilmore Quay.

Wexford People

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