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Popular Red Strand beach needs its own lifeguards, says O’Reilly

June 6th, 2024 6:30 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Popular Red Strand beach needs its own lifeguards, says O’Reilly Image
Council workmen on Red Strand beach in January, working to improve drainage from a nearby lake. While the beach is very popular with families and swimmers, there are no lifeguards allocated to it by the Council. (Photo: Andy Gibson)

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ONE of West Cork’s most popular beaches, Red Strand, where tragedy was narrowly averted twice last summer, still doesn’t have a lifeguard on duty, according to local election candidate for the Skibbereen area, Padraig O’Reilly.

The Fianna Fáil candidate is calling for more funding be provided for seasonal lifeguards across West Cork beaches.

He said Minister with responsibility for Local Government Darragh O’Brien needs to provide this funding to local authorities in coastal areas in West Cork.

‘Last year we saw that there was no lifeguard on a popular beach like Red Strand, for example. The real life impact of this was reflected in two near drownings on that beach last summer,’ he said.

‘This cannot continue. Every summer West Cork sees people, in their thousands, flock to its beautiful coastline and the local authority and the State has a onus to ensure we are safe.’

He added that investment in keeping the beaches safe in the summer months is crucial.

‘In its current form, some of our most popular beaches are not safe, and this can be rectified by providing funding to local authorities to hire additional seasonal lifeguards, as well as investing in water safety courses and skill sessions to ensure facilities for training are adequately available.’

He said this would build a pool of lifeguards. ‘This topic has come to my attention on the doorsteps over the last few weeks. Frustration has also been expressed at the reduction in swim lanes for water safety training in our public swimming pool in Dunmanway.

‘Previously the entire pool was provisioned for skills training on Fridays, but this is now reduced to two lanes.’

Mr O’Reilly said that this has become a point of frustration.

Cork Council’s beach lifeguards resumed duty on several beaches last weekend for the month of June, while the service will go fulltime for the months of July and August.

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