1 December 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Cork County Council has won the Charles Thomson Award, an annual award which recognises the work of Local Authorities in promoting water safety. The Award is presented by Irish Water Safety (IWS) within the Republic of Ireland and the Royal Life Saving Society (Northern Ireland and Ireland branches).
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley, Cork County Council’s Chief Executive Tim Lucey together with the Council’s Water and Road Safety Development Officer Caroline Casey were presented with the award at a ceremony in Dublin.
The Charles Thomson Award scheme organisers commended Cork County Council for its variety of initiatives promoting water safety during 2016, in particular the style of education which encouraged independent thinking in children and peer learning. The Council’s focus on ring buoys, how to use them and why not to vandalise them with new locations identified for ring buoy provision also mentioned.
Cork County Council was also complimented for its introduction of new water safety signage and information at bathing locations and along waterways, its promotion of water safety across Cork communities and its beach safety leaflets available at beachguard stations and tourist offices around the county. The Council also issued copies to schools.
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Declan Hurley spoke of the prestige associated with the Charles Tompson Award, “This is a huge honour for Cork County Council particularly considering the fantastic work undertaken by all local authorities on the island of Ireland in water safety. We have been actively focusing on a template of safety signage for all beaches. We have set out to improve water safety with the piers and harbours being one of our areas of focus in 2016. We also allocate at least one inspector from engineering areas to inspect ring buoys, all of which is just a flavour of some of our undertakings.”
Caroline Casey, Water Safety Development Officer for Cork County Council said, “Cork County Council has made the promotion of water safety a priority and continues to keep it as a high priority throughout the year. I’m thrilled to receive such national recognition for the work we have carried out and will continue to do so. Keeping children under supervision around water is a must. Teaching them how to risk assess hazards and potential dangerous situations will assist in enhancing their personal safety skills which will serve them well throughout their lives”.
In presenting the Award, the Chairman of Irish Water Safety Martin O’Sullivan referred to “the increasing demands on local authorities to provide safe environments around water to ensure public safety as the numbers taking to a range of aquatic activities has increased”, adding that “Cork County Council has clearly demonstrated its commitment to improving facilities, providing safe equipment and signage and spearheading innovative promotional activities that educate both children and adults, and for this they are to be highly commended.”
Cork County Council Chief Executive Tim Lucey also paid tribute to the creative and engaging manner in which Caroline has impacted upon Cork children, “Caroline has worked tirelessly on a series of educational initiatives in schools including water safety board games, a farm safety book, water safety workshops, school safety days, established Junior Water Safety Officers as well as the Cork County Council Water Safety Awareness Flag which now hangs proudly outside 123 County Cork Schools.”