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IWS reflects best practice in the area of water safety, teaching swimming and lifesaving skills to over 50,000 people each year - Perry

28/11/12

• Irish Water Safety makes Ireland a safer place in which to live, work and play whether in, on or near water
• Irish Water Safety Vision: Every person a swimmer – every person a lifesaver

Mr. John Perry, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, yesterday (27th November 2012) presented Irish Water Safety (IWS) awards at a ceremony in Dublin City Hall.

Minister Perry paid tribute to Irish Water Safety (IWS) and thanked the volunteer membership for promoting water safety and saving lives on a daily basis.  He praised IWS on the effectiveness of their educational and practical lifesaving skills programmes through which they teach swimming and lifesaving skills to over 50,000 adults and young people every year. He stressed that it was very important to get children involved in water based activities, especially at an early age and make them recognise and be able to avoid potential dangers.  He also urged fishermen and other boat users to always use lifejackets as too many lives are lost where lifejackets are not used.

“Tragically an average of 140 drownings occur in Ireland every year,” commented Minister Perry, “and although that’s 140 too many, the figure would be even higher but for the dramatic efforts of individuals who saved others from drowning and to the ongoing work of volunteers in teaching swimming and rescue skills.

“Last year, the 128 drownings in Ireland were lower than this annual average, reason enough to be confident that the work of Irish Water Safety Volunteers and partners in the public and private sector is having the desired outcome – more people enjoying our wonderful aquatic facilities more safely. That said complacency is not an option”.

The Minister presented the annual “SEIKO Just in Time” awards in recognition of lives saved in dramatic near-death incidents.  Other awards included Irish Water Safety Long Service Awards, the Charles Thomson Local Authority Award, the Media Appreciation Awards and the Community & Social Responsibility Awards. Richard McLoughlin from Cork and Michael Murphy from Dublin were made Lifetime Governors of Irish Water Safety for their contribution to IWS over many years.  Full details of awards are available on www.iws.ie.
 
Minister Perry spoke of the important role that both local and national media play in raising public awareness of drowning prevention strategies and also the many companies and individuals who contribute in many and varying ways to help Irish Water Safety complete its work, to make Ireland a safer place in which to live, work and play whether that is in, on or near water.

The Minister concluded by urging everyone to make the Irish Water Safety Vision a reality – “Every person a swimmer – every person a lifesaver”.
ENDS

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