CREDIT: Bagenalstown Swimming Club
Carlow's Senator Jennifer Murnane O'Connor has issued an appeal after she received complaints by her constituents over the "destruction and removal" of lifebuoys.
She said: "As the warm weather descends many of us are given over with a desire to take a walk along the beautiful Barrow. It is important to commend the Carlow fire brigade who ensure we have life buoys in place and ready for use.
"However, I have been contacted by so many constituents regarding destruction and removal of these life saving devices. A stolen life buoy can mean a stolen life."
Her warning comes after lifebuoys by the river outside Bagenalstown were out of their boxes and tied to poles and it took volunteers three to four minutes to unravel each of them.
Senator Murnane O'Connor added: "My colleague in the Seanad Dr Keith Swanwick has drafted legislation which I am fully supporting called the Life Saving Equipment Bill.
"Community First Responders Ireland and volunteer organisations up and down the country put so much time and effort into fundraising for this equipment and Irish Water Safety teaches people how to use this equipment properly and our local fire service maintains their safety.
"There needs to be a deterrent for wanton destruction or removal of these devices and punishment for those who commit such atrocities. I would urge you to contact all your elected representatives to get behind this bill."
The Life Saving Equipment Bill would impose strict new penalties, including a fine of up to €50,000 and a jail term of up to 5 years for anyone convicted of interfering with life-saving equipment such as lifebuoys and defibrillators.