Warm weather leads to water safety fears around Lough Derg

Cllr Virginia O'Dowd
The fine weather has seen an upsurge in people diving into the water from boats and off bridges on Lough Derg to cool down, However, local councillor Virginia O’Dowd has warned that such activity is danagerous following the rescue of 16 people from two boats by Lough Derg RNLI last weekend

The fine weather has seen an upsurge in people diving into the water from boats and off bridges on Lough Derg to cool down, However, local councillor Virginia O’Dowd has warned that such activity is danagerous following the rescue of 16 people from two boats by Lough Derg RNLI last weekend

She told North Tipperary County Council this Monday that one man was taken from the water after a passing sailor managed to grab him by the hair.

She called for cross-lake co-operation with Clare and Galway as well as Inland Waterways and the Gardai to set aside safe places for people to swim and to monitor wreckless behaviour.

She was backed by Cllr Phyll Bugler who said that people jumping off Ballina bridge was a “big problem. There are nine and 10-year-olds jumping off backwards from 2pm to midnight,” she said. “I appeal to parents not to allow their children to jump.”

Mayor Ger Darcy said that while the fine weather was great, it had brought tragedy. Cllr Seamus Morris revealed that peolple were also diving into the unused quarry at Portroe.

Director of services Jim McGuire said that there was a sense of adventure jumping off bridges, but “it does lead to risks”.

Meanhwile, Lough Derg RNLI has urged those using boats to be careful on the lake following their rescue of 16 people last Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, four adults and two children were rescued after their 38ft motor boat suffered steering failure in Dromineer Bay. The lifeboat launched again on Saturday at 4.15pm to assist 10 people whose 35ft motor cruiser was sinking at Parker’s Point, the deepest water on Lough Derg. Th Killaloe Coast Guard lifeboat and the Irish Coast Guard Search & Rescue helicopter also responded to the call.

Lough Derg RNLI helm Eleanor Hooker advised that as the heat wave is forecast to continue water users should stay safe in and around water and not to take risks.