Dáil Éireann - Volume 417 - 25 March, 1992

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Water Supply Promotion.

9. Mr. Taylor asked the Minister for the Environment if he will outline the [1579] steps, if any, his Department are taking in order to provide an information campaign, particularly for school-going children, in relation to the dangers of swimming or paddling in lakes; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Mr. Smith: The promotion of water safety is a function of the local authorities and the National Safety Council. The council actively promotes the dissemination of information on water safety, liaises with the Department of Education on water safety measures for school children and issues guidelines for local authorities in water safety matters. My Department have endorsed the council's guidelines and encouraged local authorities to act on them.

Mr. Kavanagh: In view of the fact that this week there has been a fatality involving a canoeist in my constituency, will the Minister take some action to ensure that organisations, especially if they exist in areas near the sea, are controlled by the National Safety Council which used to be called the Water Safety Council? There does not seem to be proper supervision of people using rivers to indulge their pastime and using flimsy craft. It is essential that such organisations have recourse to the National Safety Council to ensure that people have competence in their chosen sport.

Mr. Smith: I accept the Deputy's contention as it is extremely important that public awareness in this area is supported in the best way possible. I will have discussions with the National Safety Council and local authorities with a view to seeing to what extent we can, in tandem, improve the situation to avoid accidents and the kind of tragedy to which the Deputy referred.