Gardaí have been called 139 times over the past six years to the River Corrib in Galway responding to persons entering, or attempting to enter, the water.
Data released to Aontú by the Minister for Justice shows that in the first 11 months of 2022, Gardaí were called to the river 30 times.
Responding to the statistics, Aontú’s representative for Tuam, Luke Silke, said that he is “doubtful about the accuracy of these statistics” as it seems to be “very difficult to extract accurate data” from the Garda Pulse system.
He called on the government to look into this, because he said the issue is difficult to resolve unless there is a proper way of quantifying the problem.
Mr Silke volunteers with Claddagh Watch which patrols the rivers and bridges of Galway city at night seeking to prevent people from entering the water.
He said that since July 2019, the group has been involved in 387 incidents where blue light services have been involved.
“Sixteen of these incidents related to people in the water. Volunteers in Galway have given over 12,300 hours of their time across 408 patrols.
“It is truly phenomenal that the founders of the organisation – Arthur and Deborah Carr – can say that we’ve never lost anyone to the water on any night that we’ve been out. There can be no doubt that these patrols are saving countless lives in this county.
“If anyone out there can offer support or wishes to volunteer I would urge them to contact the group ‘Claddagh Watch Patrol’ on Facebook.”
Silke said that the blue light services have been fantastic, and “one cannot but be struck by the speed with which they respond to an emergency call.”
“We in Aontú are of the view that the Garda pulse system needs updating, and we need a proper method of measuring this problem in Galway.
“The statistics as extracted from the pulse system are an underestimate when compared with the data compiled by Claddagh Watch Patrol.
“Galway is a wonderful city to live, work or study in, but we do have a fierce amount of water flowing through the town. I would urge people – especially over the St Patrick’s Day weekend to look out for one another, to stay safe and to stay together.”