There will be no lifeguards on Donegal's beaches this bank holiday weekend
As the June bank holiday weekend approaches with some of the hottest weather of the year on the way, Donegal beaches will not be covered by lifeguards, the Democrat can confirm.
And it will be late June before an appropriate lifeguard service will be put in place.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said:
“DCC is working with other local authorities and national bodies to ensure that an appropriate lifeguard service will be put in place this year.
“Restrictions necessitated by Covid-19 have delayed the recruitment and training of lifeguards.
“With support from Water Safety Ireland and others, Donegal County Council anticipates having lifeguards in place by late June. In the meantime there will be advisory signage erected and media awareness has been arranged with the local RNLI and others.”
A beautiful aerial photograph of Ballyness Beach, Falcarragh by Manus Tandy
The spokesperson added: “The seapools in Bundoran have been prepared for the summer months by Donegal County Council, as normal, for the public to enjoy.
“These facilities have not been lifeguarded in the past and the public should be aware of their surroundings and always keep a constant eye on children in or near the water. Please practice social distancing and avoid crowded areas.”
Beach lifeguards would normally start their summer jobs on selected Donegal beaches on June 1 every year.
RNLI Volunteer Lifeboat Press Officer at Bundoran, Shane Smyth said: "We are aware that there will not be lifeguards on Bundoran's Main Beach this June bank holiday weekend as a result of training difficulties arising from the current Covid-19 situation and understand that Donegal County Council are working towards providing a solution to this nationwide problem as soon as possible.
“We would remind water users to exercise extreme caution during the expected hot weather spell this holiday weekend.
"We would ask people not to enter the water unless it is safe, swim at the centre of the beach, swim parallel to the shore and do not go swimming alone.
"If you think you see somebody in trouble on the coast, call 999 or 112 and ask for the Coast Guard."
Cillian O'Kelly, of TurfnSurf Lodge and Surf School and who works closely with Water Safety Ireland added: "In normal times the lifeguards on duty would put up a red flag if it is too dangerous to swim and a red and yellow flag if it is safe.
Under Phase 1 of the Roadmap to Recovery, people are permitted to engage in outdoor sporting and fitness activities on an individual basis.
Cllr Michael McMahon said he has been working closely with Donegal County Council regarding the lifeguard situation.
"There are signs warning people that there are no lifeguards on duty and the RNLI are aware of the situation but we are expecting there to be quite a number of people swimming,” he said.e
“I remind anyone who sees somebody in difficulty in the water to call 999 or 112 immediately,” he added.