Wednesday, 19th September 2018
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Rescuers: let us be a Coast Guard resource

WATERFORD Marine Search and Rescue (WMSAR) are hoping that moves by local councillors will see it affiliated to the Irish Coast Guard.

WMSAR recently unveiled a 6,000sq ft, fit for purpose search and rescue base on the River Suir but are currently not a declared resource to the Irish Coast Guard.

At this week’s Waterford City & County Council meeting, Fianna Fail Councillor Eddie Mulligan with the support of Cllr Jason Murphy and Sinn Fein Councillor Jim Griffin, will be raising a motion asking for the council to write to the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Shane Ross to change that fact.

Speaking this week, Cllr Mulligan, who has assisted WMSAR in recent missing person searches, said that for the "greater safety interests of the City & Estuary Communities", the Minister needs to instruct the Irish Coast Guard to "review their decision not to include Waterford Marine Search & Rescue, the locally based community rescue organisation, in the Irish Coast Guard’s formal voluntary response network in the City".

WMSAR. service was set up in January 2010 by Declan and Darryl Barry to provide Waterford city and county with a 24 hour, 365 days a year search, rescue and recovery service. Since January 2010 the service has grown to more than 50 volunteers and they are also part of the Community Rescue Boats of Ireland. "We have three boats ready to be launched," their website says. "This includes a 6.3 meter RIB as our primary rescue boat, two four meter Steady 400’s for search and recovery. "We also have a flood rescue boat and a three meter inflatable for small lakes and rivers. WMSAR’s volunteers have rescued at least 30 people alive from the waters of the River Suir and have prevented more than 103 people from entering the river with the intention of taking their life, most recently on September 2 when they engaged with a distressed woman contemplating suicide on the quay in the city. They also have clocked up over 1400 hours annually on suicide prevention patrols since 2010. "WMSAR have proven themselves, time and time again, to be a tremendously valuable resource in Waterford City and County," Cllr Mulligan, a former Naval Officer & Clearance Diver in the Navy, said. "They are an extremely professional outfit who are constantly training and readying themselves for every eventuality on the river. I have seen first hand the amount of man hours that they put in, and this is something that I feel has to be utilised at an official level."

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