Published 10 September 2018
Mr Michael Ring TD, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, has urged people to think twice before stealing or vandalising ringbuoys. Minister Ring made his comments after Galway City Council stated that up to 150 lifebuoys are stolen, damaged or thrown away in the city every year. Minister Ring, who has responsibility for Irish Water Safety, reminded people that stealing or tampering with lifebuoys puts people’s lives at risk.
Minister Ring said: “It is highly concerning that in Galway City alone, up to 150 ringbuoys were stolen in the last year. The City Council has to replace two to three lifebuoys each week. These worrying figures provide an insight into the scale of the problem being faced throughout the country in relation to stolen and vandalised lifebuoys.
“As confirmed by Irish Water Safety, the majority of lifebuoys are tampered with by people who are under the influence of alcohol, often after a night out. I think if people can take on board the fact that a stolen lifebuoy could cost someone their life, they may think twice about doing something so stupid and reckless.
“The lifebuoys are there for a reason. They are strategically placed so that if someone gets into trouble, they can be thrown in to save them.”
Fifteen year old, Caolan Seoige Webster got into difficulty while swimming on the River Shannon near Athlone in 2015. His friends ran to get the lifebuoy from its holder only to find that it was not there. It had been stolen. Tragically, Caolan drowned.
Minister Ring continued: “I would also appeal to the public to report people who vandalise lifebuoys to the Gardaí. I also urge them to report missing lifebuoys to the website ringbuoys.ie which is run by Irish Water Safety so that the lifebuoy can be replaced.”