A Cork City Council employee replacing a lifebuoy on Merchant’s Quay. Photo: Cork City Council/Facebook

Don’t mess with the buoys!

Over 300 lifebuoys are being replaced every year in Cork city thanks to mindless tampering.

There has been absolutely no improvement in the life-endangering damage, theft, or misuse of lifebuoys on Leeside this year despite repeated appeals by authorities.

Of the city’s 200 or so active lifebuoys, covering both the north and south banks of the Lee, 25 must be replaced on average by Cork City Council each month.

A Council spokesperson told the Cork Independent that 6 lifebuoys were missing along Lancaster Quay on a single morning last week.

They said: “There has been no reduction in incidents during 2023.

“It is regrettable that there seems to be no comprehension by a very small cohort of individuals of the importance of a lifebuoy in preventing a possible tragedy, despite regular appeals.”

Under Irish law, a person who damages lifesaving equipment is liable to be prosecuted for an offence of criminal damage under section 2 of the Criminal Damage Act 1991. A person convicted of such an offence could be faced with a fine of up to €2,500 and could spend a year behind bars.

If a person is found to have damaged the equipment (lifebuoy) with the intent to endanger the life of another or found to have recklessly endangered the life of another, that person can face imprisoned for life.

A person who steals lifesaving equipment would be liable to prosecution for an offence of theft under section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 2001 and could be fined up to €5,000 or be send to prison for a year, or both.

Cork’s lifebuoys are inspected on a daily basis to ensure they meet safety and usage standards.

Anyone who notices any issues with lifebuoys in the city are asked e-mail recreation@corkcity.ie or phone 021-4924000.