Limerick taxi drivers train to save lives

Anne Sheridan

Reporter:

Anne Sheridan

TAXI DRIVERS in Limerick will be now taking their eyes off the meter to focus on saving someone’s life.

TAXI DRIVERS in Limerick will be now taking their eyes off the meter to focus on saving someone’s life.

Staff with Treaty Cabs on Davis Street have undertaken throwbag training with Waterford Marine Search & Rescue, and are believed to be the first taxi drivers in the country to adopt this new skill. The drivers trained in the water to save someone’s life if they’re in difficulty, and learned how to talk to people in crisis situations.

They hope now that other taxi drivers in Limerick will follow suit, and join them in preventing tragedies from occurring in the River Shannon. Jude Williams said that with over 800 taxi drivers working in Limerick their industry has a real chance to save lives and assist Limerick Marine Search & Rescue.

Tara Williams, also a volunteer with Limerick Search & Rescue, said they plan to set up a Facebook page to encourage other drivers to avail of this training. “The aim is to get this going all over the country. It was started in Waterford and we’re the first taxi company to do this, and hopefully it’ll take off from here.”

Taxi driver Alfie Earls said it’s not merely a case of throwing the throwbag into the river; it’s also important to have the physical strength to be able to pull someone from the river. On Christmas Eve Aflie phoned the gardai after seeing a man on the bridge, who was later talked down. “There’s nobody in Limerick that doesn’t know someone who has had somebody in the river. If we can help in any way it would be fantastic,” he said.

Jimmy Connors, of Limerick Marine Search & Rescue, said “the more people that are aware of the tragedies happening in the river the better.

“The taxi drivers are on the road 24/7 and they will come across things first that we mightn’t know anything about. We’re fully supportive of the taxi association, well done to them.”

The training takes just two hours and those who complete it will receive a throwbag to carry in their car, a certificate and a sticker for the vehicle, for a fee of €30.