A Stolen Ringbuoy-A Stolen Life (11 Jul 2006)
Mr. Dick Roche TD, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government pleaded with the public to safeguard Ireland's Ringbuoys in order to help reduce drowning.

Minister Roche made this plea on the first day of National Water Safety Awareness Week, which ran from from 29th May and the June 5th and targetted to bring water safety in to the homes and ensure that all members of the families were made aware of the risks surrounding water.

Launching a new poster. A Stolen Ringbuoy. A Stolen Life with the assistance of a group of children, Minister Roche commented on the tragedy that can result from Ringbuoy vandalism. Tragically, 170 people drown nationwide every year. The absence of a Ringbuoy due to theft or vandalism can have tragic consequences when a member of the public needs to effect a rescue to a person in distress in water, said Minister Roche. Regrettably, there are still incidents of malicious damage and theft to these lifesaving appliances and there is a continuing need for the public to be made aware that damage or theft of such ringbuoys or the attached rope, could result in the loss of life. The key objective is to make people aware of the potentially tragic consequences of missing ringbuoys for the busy summer season ahead.

The purpose of these Ringbuoys is twofold: firstly they act as a constant visible reminder of the danger that the aquatic environment represents, and they are intended to be used to effect a rescue of any person who may find themselves in distress. Some irresponsible members of the public vandalise these lifesaving appliances, particularly late-night revellers under the influence of alcohol. Some of the Local Authorities on their regular checks particularly in urban areas discover that they are either missing or have been vandalised. A high financial cost of this vandalism is borne by the ratepayers and taxpayers, but the serious risk is to human life caused by the deliberate damage to this equipment is of particular concern.

Irish Water Safety appeals to the public to assist in maintaining these vitally important lifesaving appliances in good condition at all times. Any person seen tampering or in possession with these lifebelts should be reported to the Local Authorities and/or the Garda. The Gardai have been successful in convicting members of the public for interfering with and damaging lifesaving equipment and Courts have fined members of the public in the recent past, which has helped to further reduce this damage and interference.

Ireland Irish Water Safety

More information at http://www.ilsf.org/node/261
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