'Mindless yobs' throw ring buoys off bridge (12 Jun 2011)

'Mindless yobs' throw ring buoys off bridge
Wednesday June 13 2012

'MINDLESS yobs' threw four potentially lifesaving ring buoys off Wexford Bridge last weekend in the latest of a spate of such incidents.

Councillor George Lawlor this week blasted those responsible for regularly vandalising the ring buoys, and said he has asked the council to look at other options for the buoys on the bridge.

Last year, local company Crimewatch Security offered to monitor the lifebuoys, 24 hours a day, free of charge, but said that larger lifebuoys in closed boxes, such as those on the quay, would be required so they could be remotely monitored.

The measure would also require cabling and a transmitter put in place, so the company could be alerted when the boxes are opened. Separately it was also suggested at a meeting with the council that the town's CCTV system be extended to cover the bridge, enabling the Gardaí to identify those responsible for interfering with the buoys.

Frank Flanagan of Crimewatch Security said that unfortunately it is not possible to remotely monitor the smaller buoys currently in place on the bridge. He said that while some of the missing buoys have washed up on the North Slob, some are never recovered and it costs a lot of money to replace them.

'Our company would like to point out that these lifebuoys which are being constantly vandalised, are not monitored by our company despite our offer to do so,' he said. 'Our offer was made in good faith and still stands, should the council agree to install the recommended buoys as discussed.'

'We have concerns that the council will withdraw the lifebuoys altogether, which happened before, possibly resulting in the loss of life in the future,' he added.

Cllr. Lawlor said that the council got advice last year from Irish Water Safety that the current lifebuoys were the best ones to use. 'You'd need a closed unit to monitor them,' he said. 'I've made a proposal that we would investigate the possibility of going with the Crimewatch Security suggestion that larger ring buoys would be fitted, in closed boxes. Too much vandalism of the lifebuoys has taken place and we need to ensure they are not tampered with, and that we can catch those responsible, in the act.'

' This is happening quite regularly,' he added. 'It's the work of mindless yobs who have no regard for anybody. These are put in place for a reason and not to be playthings for idiots.'

He said he will work with the Director of Services at the County Council to resolve the issues and thanked Crimewatch Security for its kind offer to monitor the buoys for free.

The problem with the current buoys, he said, is that they are easily accessible. 'Which is what you want lifebuoys to be,' he pointed out. 'So we're going to have to go with Plan B, because you can't have them vandalised. I propose we investigate whether or not this idea is an option, and I sincerely hope it is.'

'These buoys won't save a life if they are not in their boxes,' he continued. 'Wexford Harbour is an amenity that people should be able to use safely.

In a statement yesterday, Tuesday, Wexford County Council said that the Local Authorities have a system of checking ring buoys across the county.

'Irish Water Safety reviewed and advised Wexford Local Authorities on the number, positioning, type and checking requirements for ring buoys on Wexford bridge and their recommendations are being followed,' the statement said. 'Ring buoys on the bridge are checked twice weekly.'

'Wexford Local Authorities Water Safety Officer will review the current checking regime and will consult with Wexford Borough Council in light of recent incidence of vandalism,' it continued.

Wexford County Council appealed to members of the public to treat ring buoys with respect. 'Ring buoys are essential potential life saving equipment and you might need to the use of one sometime to save a life,' the Council said.

The vandalism was condemned by the Mayor of Wexford David Hynes.

' It's absolutely disgraceful behaviour for anyone to interfere with life-saving devices,' Cllr. Hynes told a Borough Council meeting on Monday night. ' This is happening for no other reason than vandalism or too much alcohol.'

Contact: Wexford People
More information at http://www.wexfordpeople.ie/news/mindless-yobs-throw-ring-buoys-off-bridge-3141595.html
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