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New Plan to Stop Vandalism of Public Lifebuoys but Why is Bill for Tougher Penalties Delayed?

14th December 2019
Ring buoy vandalism in Dublin's docklands Ring buoy vandalism in Dublin's docklands Photo: Smart Docklands

I have no hesitation in saying that I detest those who vandalise public lifebuoys. Prosecuting and convicting such people, because their actions endanger life is, without question, absolutely necessary, but new legislation to make it easier for Gardai to do so and which would provide for a five-year jail sentence for those convicted has been held up in the Dáil for two years.

It is hard to understand why.

"Harbour Authorities spend €50,000 a year to replace an estimated 1,500 that are stolen or vandalised"

This equipment is a major part of the National Drowning Prevention Strategy. Local and Harbour Authorities provide ring buoys in yellow boxes but are having to spend €50,000 a year to replace an estimated 1,500 that are stolen or vandalised. Dublin City Council had to replace 500 last year at a cost of €20,000.

John Leech Water SafetyChief Executive of Water Safety Ireland, John Leech

Cities, towns and urban areas are generally the locations where vandalism and theft are worst

Water Safety Ireland is working with Dublin Smart Docklands on a technological solution for the problem, according to the Chief Executive of Water Safety, John Leech.

• He discussed the problem on the Podcast below

Tom MacSweeney

About The Author

Tom MacSweeney

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Tom MacSweeney writes a weekly column for He also presents the maritime radio programme This Island Nation on community radio stations around Ireland.

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