Mayo Fine Gael TD, John O’Mahony, has highlighted what he has described as ‘an unacceptable practice of people making hoax phone calls to the Irish Coast Guard. Deputy O’Mahony, who is chairman of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communications, said that last year alone there were 328 hoax calls received.
“This is simply unacceptable. While the figure is down on the 2011 when there were 369 hoax calls recorded it’s a dramatic increase on the figures for 2006 when 27 hoax calls were logged.
“My information is that the vast majority of calls made to the Coast Guard are of a hoax nature and while many simply hang up after being asked for further details, that is not always the case. Those hoax calls have led to the Search and Rescue units being despatched and that is simply an appalling abuse of resources, not to mention the risks that the Coast Guard people take when answering calls. The time being wasted answering those calls and in some cases following up with the launch of the Search and Rescue units could well be at the detriment of someone who actually needs the service. My plea would be to people to think before making those calls and also to actively discourage anyone from doing so,” he said.