Speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Rónán Mullen called for Galway City Council to respond to the grassroots campaign in Galway around safety measures needed along the River Corrib.
He raised the issue in the context of the number of suicides which have taken place in Galway. If more safety measures were in place, lives would be saved and people would get to safety, including in cases where people who intended to harm themselves had changed their minds but whose lives were now in peril.
In his speech, Senator Mullen referenced a petition which has amassed almost 30,000 signatures in support of measures to improve safety in the River Corrib.
“In the waterways of Galway City, there are often suicide attempts and suicides late at night when people who need support and may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, take that final tragic, utterly mistaken, decision.”
“I want to draw my colleagues attention to an initiative in Galway where local people are asking Galway City Council to take proactive steps to increase the chances of survival of a person who jumps into the River Corrib in Galway (or indeed someone who falls in accidentally). We know that for many people who attempt or commit suicide, they can change their minds and the reality in Galway is that for that person, if they have entered certain parts of the River, even if they instantly regret it their chances of getting to safety are low given that the river is so fast-flowing.”
“A petition has been signed by nearly 30,000 persons asking Galway City Council to introduce measures including safety nets along the walkways alongside the river and ropes across the river that a person being swept along at speed might be able to catch on to. The petition also calls for safety ladders at regular intervals and sensors. There are a good number of life rings along the walkways (and I’m talking in particular of the River Corrib from the Salmon Weir Bridge down to Wolfe Tone Bridge in Galway City) and the Council is to be commended on the provision of those rings. But more must be done. Certainly I would have thought that nets and ropes are proposals that could be implemented at minimal cost. I urge the Council to address this as a matter of priority.”
“Suicide prevention and the constant attention to providing more and better support services has to remain a priority for our government to stem the tragic loss of lives. In particular today, I am calling on Galway City Council to take heed of what is being sought from the people of Galway and to address the matter of safety measures along Corrib without delay.
Link to Seanad speech here
You can sign the petition Make the River Corrib Safer – Let’s save some lives here