Limerick group patrol the river to prevent suicides

RIVER patrols to save lives have resumed along the Shannon.

RIVER patrols to save lives have resumed along the Shannon.

It is understood that an estimated 40 people have entered the river this year alone. The patrol is called Corbett Search and Response after Trevor Corbett who first started the initiative.

James Roche, chairman, said it is being continued in the memory of the late Mr Corbett. “He started up Countrywide Emergency Response Team to help out search and rescue groups. It was brought to light patrols in the river were needed. It has gone out of control in the last 12 months and we are trying to set it back up so that there is some one there they can talk to,” said Mr Roche.

They are in the process of doing counselling courses on suicide prevention and how to talk to vulnerable people standing at the river’s edge.

At present they describe themselves as an early warning system. They keep an eye on people and they have throw bags - flotation devices with a 25 metre rope.

Currently they have 10 volunteers but are looking for more especially as it gets closer to Christmas - the loneliest time of the year for many.

“It is trying to rotate them [the 10] between work or other commitments. The busy periods are from 11pm/midnight to 4/5am. Ideally we want to have enough people to be able to cover all the main areas in the river.

“The biggest area is down near the skate park, there is no railing and the lighting is atrocious. Even if you weren’t thinking of committing suicide, if you were drunk you could slip in. Even a barrier or good lighting will stop someone.

“The other area recently has been Arthurs Quay park, at the back of Henry Street Garda Station and the slipway off O’Callaghan Strand,” said Mr Roche.

Mayor Gerry McLoughlin launched Corbett Search and Response and joined them on Tuesday night.

“It is a huge venture. I’m going out tonight to see what they do and see what they need equipment wise,” said Mayor McLoughlin on Tuesday.

“The whose aspect of the river, all the places that are open and are very easy to jump in - they have to be looked at by the council. I’m going to compile a report. It will give us a better idea of how to make the place safer and not so accessible for people who may be very vulnerable,” said Mayor McLoughlin, who added that the group spent hours helping a person on Saturday night.

Corbett Search and Rescue receives no funding so to raise money for their plans they are holding a bingo/quiz in Collins’ in Dooradoyle at 8pm on Monday, November 5, and a table quiz followed by a band in the Blind Pig in the city on Thursday, November 8 from 7pm. Email for more.

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