An Independent Galway senator has called for charges and jail time for ‘clowns’ who risk their lives and those of emergency services during extreme weather events.
Senator Gerard Craughwell made the remarks yesterday in the aftermath of ex-Hurricane Ophelia.
The storm battered Galway on Monday afternoon, and as many stayed inside for the duration of the storm, some decided to take to Blackrock for a dip.
The Independent senator said: “I sat and watched the television yesterday and I saw what I would call a clown in Blackrock, Galway, walking along the diving tower to go in for a swim.
“It might interest the House to know that the tower is there as a direct result of my father saving a woman’s life during a riptide in Blackrock in 1947.
“It was dangerous then when there was no tower, but it is twice as dangerous now.
“We should look at legislation that would provide for people to be charged with reckless endangerment and, if necessary, put in jail. Somebody suggested last night that there should be a fine for this type of behaviour. How much of a fine would pay for the loss of a rescuer’s life in a situation like that?” he added.
The senator also extended his deepest sympathies to the families of those who were tragically killed by the storm and praised the government’s preperation and reaction, on the most part.
“I congratulate the Government on an excellent job of preparedness, and for the excellent co-ordination of services throughout the storm.
“The Taoiseach and his Minister have been a credit to this country. However, there is always a downside. This morning I listened to the Minister of State with responsibility for Defence, Deputy Paul Kehoe, and was absolutely horrified that he would mislead the country in the way he did.
He spoke about engineering units being available in every barracks in the country to assist the local authorities.
There are no engineering units in counties Donegal, Galway, Limerick or Kilkenny. A third of an engineering unit is available in Dublin, two thirds of an engineering unit is available in Athlone,” said Senator Craughwell .