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A Galway Paramedic on His Petition Opposing Controversial Beach Bye-Laws

21st November 2022
Galway Paramedic Patrick Dunne, a keen kitesurfer and sailor, has set up a petition opposing controversial Beach Bye-Laws in Galway
Galway Paramedic Patrick Dunne, a keen kitesurfer and sailor, has set up a petition opposing controversial Beach Bye-Laws in Galway

Paramedic Patrick Dunne is a keen kitesurfer, windsurfer, sailor, swimmer and general watersports enthusiast who has volunteered with the RNLI.

He has initiated a petition opposing Galway County Council’s new draft bye-laws which propose to ban watersports apart from swimming off 24 beaches in the county.

As initially reported by Afloat, the draft bye-laws state that “no person shall windsurf on sailboards or kite-surf on kiteboards or surf on a surfboard or use a canoe, kayak, dinghy, stand-up paddle board or water bike in close proximity to bathers” off any of the 24 named beaches.

The draft bye-laws also state that the council “ may at its discretion designate areas of any beach in and at which the use of surfboards and/or kiteboards and/or sailboards and/or canoes and kayaks and/or dinghies and/or stand-up paddle boards and/or water bikes is restricted or prohibited”.

However, watersports enthusiasts point out that consultation on zoning should have taken place before any draft legislation was published.

Blue Flag criteria also stipulate that beaches must be accessible to all and that there must be management and zoning for different users to prevent conflicts and accidents.

If Galway County Council’s bye-laws are passed without amendment, the council may be empowered to issue on-the-spot fines of €75 euro to anyone in breach of conditions and, if found guilty in court, a fine of up to €1,904.60.

The deadline for submissions on the proposals has been extended to 4 pm on November 25th.

Paramedic Patrick Dunne (right) is a keen kitesurfer, windsurfer, sailor, swimmer and general watersports enthusiastParamedic Patrick Dunne (right) is a keen kitesurfer, windsurfer, sailor, swimmer and general watersports enthusiast

Patrick Dunne spoke to Wavelengths about the petition he has initiated and why his own personal experience leads him to believe this type of legislation will create an unnecessary conflict between swimmers and all other watersports users.

Listen to Wavelengths below

Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

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Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Search and Rescue: True stories of Irish Air-Sea Rescues and the Loss of R116 (2022); Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004); and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010). She is also co-producer with Sarah Blake of the Doc on One "Miracle in Galway Bay" which recently won a Celtic Media Award

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Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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