Michael Ring, T.D., Minister for Rural and Community Development, today (1 June 2018) extended his deepest sympathies to the parents, families and friends of Jack Kenneally and Shay Moloney who died in such tragic circumstances in County Clare yesterday.
Such tragedies highlight the vital work undertaken by Irish Water Safety (IWS). Education and public awareness, particularly among young people, of the hazards of water, and education in safety around water is a primary target of IWS.
“It is heart breaking that the tragic drownings in County Clare once again highlight the need for us to foster a culture that encourages safer attitudes and behaviours in all those who live, work and play on or near water in Ireland.”
The Minister, in conjunction with Irish Water Safety, recently launched the National Drowning Prevention Strategy, aimed at halving the number of drownings by 2027.
“The focus needs to be on raising awareness of the dangers of our waters, through education, training, intervention and action. With effort and commitment from everyone, this 10 year strategy can help us to halve the amount of drownings in our waters. This goal is achievable and implementation of the actions will go some way to preventing such tragedies as the one in Clare yesterday.”
Teaching vital life skills to children is a particular goal. This summer, IWS volunteers will continue a tradition since 1945 of teaching outdoor swimming and lifesaving classes throughout Ireland, along with other hugely important programmes such as the launch this week of new classroom resources for schoolchildren. Through the Primary Aquatic Water Safety, or PAWS, Programme thousands of children have benefitted from PAWS at the ideal time in their development.
Our waters are an amazing resource, yet in 2016, 123 people lost their lives to drowning. We need a greater awareness of the dangers presented by water, allied of course with developing swimming and life saving skills and the provision of safety measures.
“We have a wonderful natural environment here in Ireland and we must know how to enjoy it safely and sensibly. I would also urge anyone to report damaged or missing safety equipment such as ringbuoys immediately.”
The Minister concluded by urging all those who are around water for either business or pleasure to be careful at all times.
Link to Irish Water Safety website (including new resources for schoolchildren): www.iws.ie
Link to National Drowning Prevention Strategy:
Link to report missing or damaged ringbuoys: www.ringbuoys.ie