President Michael D. Higgins will officially open a new Lifesaving Training Centre at White Strand, Miltown Malbay, Co Clare on Friday March 20th at 2pm.
The centre will train Lifeguards and the general public in Irish Water Safety’s syllabus for swimming, water survival and rescue skills that save lives from drowning.
The centre has been developed through a partnership between the Clare committee of Irish Water Safety and Clare County Council. It will accommodate the year-round training of Clare’s beach lifeguards, surf lifesaving teams and a wide range of aquatic skills training. Other community use is also envisaged.
Speaking ahead of the opening, Mr Patrick O’Grady, Chairman of Clare Water Safety Area Committee, paid tribute to all involved: “All of our volunteers can be very proud of this wonderful achievement and it is fitting that the centre marks the birthplace of lifesaving training in Ireland now in its 70th anniversary year since the official establishment of Irish Water Safety in 1945.”
“Thousands of children and adults have already benefited from the training provided by Clare volunteers and the skills instilled in so many have saved many lives over the decades. This new centre will now provide the ideal support necessary to expand the delivery of life saving training courses to benefit even more within the community.”
Outlining Clare’s link to the foundation of Lifesaving sport in Ireland, Mr O’Grady continued: “On average, 135 people drown in Ireland every year yet this figure would be far higher but for the actions of trained Lifesavers. The Sport of Lifesaving has been developed to improve the standard of life guarding in Ireland. The skills that will be taught and developed at this centre will be an important lifeline in any aquatic emergency and will add to the corps of trained lifesavers nationwide.”