05 Oct 2022

Renewed call for lifeguard at swimming spot in Offaly after near tragic incident with young boy

Call for lifeguard at swimming spot in Offaly after near tragic incident with young boy

Call for lifeguard at swimming spot in Offaly after near tragic incident with young boy

There has been a renewed call for a lifeguard at a swimming spot in Offaly after a near tragic incident involving a young boy who got into difficulty.

Cllr Clare Claffey has renewed her call on Offaly County Council to provide a lifeguard for the swimming pool in Banagher, following an incident where a young boy was rescued from the pool by a member of Offaly Water Safety.

Cllr Claffey stated, “the urgency of this was brought home to me when a young boy got into difficulty at the pool. I would like to commend Sarah Cooke of Offaly Water Safety, who was teaching the class on the evening of July 22, about how to rescue a person in difficulty, when a young boy got into the pool to swim.

"The boy was unaware of the depth of the pool and started to panic because he was a weak swimmer. If Sarah had not on the deck at that time to rescue him, that young boy would probably not be with his family this evening. While we are proud of Sarah, the fact is it was a total coincidence that she was there. Any other evening of the summer that child might have drowned.”

At the swimming pool in Banagher Sarah Cooke (Offaly Water Safety) Cllr Clare Claffey and Kate O'Neill (Offaly Water Safety)

Cllr Claffey has asked that Offaly County Council provides in its budget for provision of lifeguarding at the pool in Banagher from 2023 onwards, throughout the summer bathing season, including generally at weekends in June and during normal daytime hours in July and August.

The main duties of the lifeguard would be to provide supervision of activities at the pool in order to prevent drowning accidents, to provide emergency rescue service in the case of accidents and to administer medical aid and perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) when necessary.

In the absence of this lifeguard, Claffey said she believes that there is a 'serious risk to the life and health' of people in the county. She continued

“The pool in Banagher is a wonderful amenity. It is well used by the people of the town, and has been promoted by Offaly County Council, among others, and so receives visitors for a much wider area on sunny summer days. We in the town are proud of the facility and enjoy using it. And yet it is completely unsupervised. There is no plan in place to protect the health and safety of the people using the pool. 

"The parents of children living in Banagher and surrounding area are demanding that safety measures are put in place at the pool, before there is a tragedy.

"A tragedy at another Offaly site in Derryounce near Portarlington saw the death of 64 year old Michael Timmons earlier in the summer.  Do we need another death before Offaly County Council will take action?” concluded Cllr Claffey.

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