Minister presents Irish Water Safety awards

Ireland's Environment, Heritage and Local Government Minister, Tony Killeen, presented Irish Water Safety awards at Dublin Castle on Tuesday, November 21.

Recognising the vital role that the Irish Water Safety (IWS) organisation plays in promoting water safety, Minister Killeen presented long service awards to some 48 individuals, for service of between ten and 40 years. Together, these represented around 900 years of service to water safety.

He also presented Life Governor Awards to those who had given "remarkable service" to the IWS, or those from outside the organisation who had made a big impact on water safety.

The IWS, which is supported by government and fund-raising, helps to raise awareness about water safety and educates people of the dangers of aquatic environments. Around 160 people drown in Ireland each year, and the group notes that many of these deaths are preventable.

"Drowning is a needless tragedy," Minister Killeen said. "Awareness of the dangers presented by water allied to the ability to swim and life save are the critical factors in preventing drowning."

He praised the IWS for its work, which had contributed to a 37 per cent reduction in drownings since 1998.

Other awards presented included the International Life Saving Federation's Citation of Merit, which went to three people who managed to save lives in an aquatic environment, and the SEIKO Just in Time awards, which recognise assistance given to those in distress in water.

Back in September, Mr Killeen presented Galway City Council with the Charles Thomson Award, which is given to the local authority that has done the most work to promote water safety.

Ben Meggeson



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