No lifeguards for Waterford beach where kids were dragged by riptide until month's end 

Council says there is currently a lack of qualified lifeguards to patrol Bunmahon Beach as they're sitting the Leaving Cert
No lifeguards for Waterford beach where kids were dragged by riptide until month's end 

Bunmahon Beach, Co. Waterford. On Sunday, two children were rescued by an onlooker after they were caught by a riptide and dragged out to sea.

Waterford Council has said it is unable to provide lifeguards at Bunmahon Beach until the end of the month.

It said there was a lack of sufficiently trained and qualified lifeguards with many not able to take up their roles as they're currently sitting the Leaving Cert.

The news comes following Sunday's scenes where two children were rescued by an onlooker after they were caught by a riptide and dragged out to sea.

A lifeguard service is provided at several other beaches in Waterford, but not Bunmahon as it lacks Blue Flag status.

Elaine O'Connor Cahill, whose 10-year-old daughter and 11-year-old cousin were rescued on Sunday, told WLR FM that she lost sight of them very quickly. While emergency service crews had tried to respond, they were impeded by cars blocking the entrance to the water.

"No one will understand how quick this happened and it could have been so much worse," Ms O'Connor Cahill said.

She praised the man who rescued her daughter Katie and cousin on Sunday, recounting how they suddenly rose from the water and managed to make it to safety.

"All I could see was water for miles. I looked to heaven and I said 'Please don't do this to me, I said, please don't do this to me, please leave them with us'. And with that, their heads popped up. The next minute the little boy was on the boogie board with them."

Calls for lifeguards

Responding to calls for lifeguards at the beach, Waterford Council cited a lack of sufficiently trained and qualified personnel. The Leaving Cert is partly to blame for the shortage, with one-third of lifeguards currently sitting exams.

"We are unable to provide a lifeguard service at Bunmahon during June due to the unavailability of sufficiently trained and qualified lifeguards," a spokesman said.

"Lifeguards are recruited by the council by open competition and all lifeguards are required to have certification as national beach lifeguards from Water Safety Ireland. Ordinarily, the lifeguards recruited by the council are young adults looking for summer work when on holidays from school and college."

He added that local authorities are required to provide a beach lifeguard service at Blue Flag beaches for weekends in June and daily during July and August. 

However, this policy only covers Ardmore, Clonea Strand, Tramore, Dunmore East's Councillors Strand and Dunmore Strand.

"Waterford City and County Council commenced the beach lifeguard service at the five Blue Flag beaches from June 5 and we expanded this to a full-time seven-day-a-week service at the five Blue Flag beaches until the end of August.

"A full-time service at Bunmahon beach will commence as soon as the numbers of trained and qualified lifeguards are available, and it is intended that this service will commence with effect from June 28."

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

logo podcast

War of Independence Podcast

A special four-part series hosted by Mick Clifford

Available on
www.irishexaminer.com/podcasts

IE logo

Commemorating 100 years since the War of Independence

IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox

LOTTO RESULTS

Saturday, July 24, 2021

  • 4
  • 12
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 44
  • 8

Full Lotto draw results »