Fine Gael Longford/ Westmeath Senator Nicky McFadden has called for funding to be provided for a lifeboat service on Lough Ree, the second largest lake on the Shannon, in order to help save lives and combat accidents on the lake.
“In view of the fact that water sports have become so popular in recent years, there is a chronic need for a lifeboat service on Lough Ree. Huge numbers of tourists, some of whom rent river cruisers, visit the area each year, and a certain percentage of these individuals have relatively little experience of waterways which sometimes results in difficulties either in trying to pilot vessels or when the weather changes,” she said.
“There are major stretches of unprotected quays along the banks of Lough Ree and a number of individuals have lost their lives on the Lough in recent years. Some of theses tragedies could have been prevented if a rescue service had been in place in the Longford - Westmeath - Roscommon area.”
She added that there is a strong willingness among members of the local community in Athlone to volunteer as crew members if a lifeboat service is established, and that people are prepared to fund-raise in respect of such a service.
“The desire for such a service among the communities of Longford, Westmeath, and Roscommon is such that a committee has been formed to carry out fundraising and obtain a vessel that will assist in saving the lives of people who get into difficulty.
“It is unfathomable that no rescue service is in place for Lough Ree, the second largest lake in the country. It is imperative that funds are identified that can supplement the fund-raising efforts of local communities. Lives depend on it.”