Updated: 23/11/17 : 05:22:55
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Emergency Response Workers should be protected – Henry

Sligo County Council passed a motion proposed by its Vice Chairperson Councillor Keith Henry calling for penalties for those who recklessly endanger the lives of emergency response workers.

The Ballymote-Tubbercurry Fianna Fáil Councillor said he brought the motion before the council in response to incidents during the recent Storm Ophelia.

“We rarely get red weather alerts that require schools and businesses to close, yet when that decision was rightly made we saw on our TV’s people swimming in the Sea and Kite Surfing in hurricane force winds. These were nothing but idiotic acts that not only endangered their own life but the lives of the emergency response workers” he said.

“When we get into any sort of difficulty we expect the emergency services to respond and they do so in a professional manner as speedily as they can. For one day people were asked to stay indoors and for the sake of bravado perhaps some people decided to ignore that warning.

"Do they not think of the danger they put the RNLI responders or ambulance drivers etc in if they get into difficulty or of their families at home? Cllr Henry questioned.

“I believe it should be an offence to recklessly endanger the life of any emergency response worker. They already work in very challenging circumstances as it is without dealing with idiotic acts when people have been asked to stay indoors.

"Three people unfortunately died during the Storm on a day when there was the absolute minimal traffic on our roads. Perhaps those thrill seekers should bear that in mind for future weather warnings as they have a choice to stay indoors or not, emergency workers don’t.”

He concluded, "The Council backed the motion unanimously."