Almost 300 life buoys along the city stretches of Cork city’s River Lee have to be replaced every year due to vandalism.
In addition to putting lives at risk, the vandalism has cost City Hall almost €15,000 a year, with each life-saving device costing around €50.
New figures show Cork City Council replaces an average of 25 lifebuoys which go missing from their holders every month following deliberate acts of vandalism. They had to replace 31 devices in September alone. Some are later recovered from the water. The figures emerged in response to a written question from FG city councillor John Buttimer last week.
He asked for details on life buoys, and whether consideration would be given to placing positive mental health messages in strategic locations close to the life buoy locations. In response, the council’s head of services in the environment and recreation department, David Joyce, said the council maintains 172 life buoys placed at various locations on the north and south banks of the river, from the Lee Fields through the city and east along the Marina and the Mahon walkway.
“The ring buoys are inspected daily to ensure that the life-saving devices are in proper working order if needed in an emergency,” Mr Joyce said. “Over 300 ring buoys per annum, or an average of 25 per month, have to be replaced as they are missing from their holders, caused by a deliberate act of vandalism.
“A number of these are subsequently recovered from the water. The figures are similar to those reported by Dublin City Council.”
But while he said there are no plans to erect signage near the ring buoys, the council will, where possible, co-operate with any agency in relation to appropriate messaging if it is deemed to be of merit.
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