New initiative gets launched to stop ring buoys being tampered with by thugs – – Our News, Your Views

New initiative gets launched to stop ring buoys being tampered with by thugs

The family of a man who drowned in the River Liffey last year have welcomed a new initiative that uses sensor technology to immediately alert officials if a circular buoy has been tampered with.

Experts from Water Safety Ireland say that hundreds of them are vandalized or stolen every year.

Daniel Cullen was 34 years old when he drowned in the River Liffey in Dublin in the summer of 2021.

On the night of the tragedy, two rings of buoys (also called lifebuoys) were missing from their supports.

Rescue attempts were foiled.

“Daniel’s death was tragic and sad, and it’s very raw. It’s hard to say whether life buoys would have made a difference, but certainly they would have helped. The chances of Daniel been saved that night would have been so much better had the life buoys been in place,” said Daniel’s uncle.

There are approximately 5,000 ring buoys dotted around our rivers, lakes and coastlines, but despite their importance, they are regularly vandalized.

Every week 15 ring buoys go missing or are stolen, and in the city of Dublin alone.

The cost of its replacement is approximately €20,000 per year.

But now new sensor technology has been implemented that will alert council officials once a ring buoy is removed from its mount.

One of those behind the new scheme is Conall Mac Aongusa of the mSemicon company.

“Our solution is very simple. If somebody decides to take away a ring buoy whether for good reason or bad, when the ring buoy is taken out we have a small device, if the ring buoy is missing, it sends a message back to City Hall to say the ring buoy is missing. Then, we can come out and replace it to ensure there is a ring buoy all the time to ensure that lives can be saved,” he explained, reported RTE.

The Cullen family welcomed the move.

“We welcome this new scheme. It’ll certainly improve the safety of people in Dublin city centre and in other centres throughout the South of Ireland. What happened Daniel isn’t an uncommon occurrence,’ Gerry Cullen said, reported RTE.

The initiative was also welcomed by water safety advocates.

Roger Sweeney of Water Safety Ireland said he regularly receives reports of missing ring buoys.

“I’ve had reports of the rope being used as a clothesline. So, some people don’t appreciate how important they are. So, this initiative will help save lives,” according to RTE.

Gerry Cullen urged people to “stop and think” about the consequences of tampering with the ring buoys.

“I just ask people to stop and think of what the consequences can be. We, as a family know what the consequences are. We lost our nephew, other families have lost family members in the same such circumstances. So, we just ask people who vandalise this equipment just to stop and think of the consequences,” reported RTE.

The scheme is already implemented in 8 municipalities across the country and other local authorities are expected to follow.

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