Local Gardai have warned members of the public to stay off frozen lakes and canals, after they were alerted to five men fishing on Ballinafid lake outside Mullingar last week.
A member of the public contacted Gardai to inform them that they had observed five people ‘ice fishing’, a practice which involves drilling a hole through the ice. The men had pitched a small tent on the ice, and pulled a rubber dinghy along with them to carry their equipment.
Gardai attended the scene and asked the fishermen to move for their own safety; however, the following morning there were reports of another man fishing on the same lake.
Gardai in other parts of the country also reported several incidents of members of the public walking, cycling, and skating on frozen lakes and waterways.
Meanwhile Irish Water Safety, the body that promotes water safety in Ireland, has issued a set of guidelines for ice safety, particularly as the thaw sets in. They are advising parents to ensure children stay off frozen areas.
“Children will be tempted to play on the ice where it has frozen over on many canals, ponds, lakes and flooded areas. Playing on the frozen edges of a pond, lake or canal is perilous as ice can be quite thick in one area yet it can be much thinner within the same area,” says CEO John Leech.
“Previous hard spells of weather have ended in tragedy where young children have fallen through the ice and drowned.
“Ice-related drownings can occur when the rescuer gets into difficulty attempting to rescue another person or a family pet.”
For further information on ice safety, visit www.iws.ie