A rescue operation was mounted off the Co Clare coast this evening after two people in a kayak were reported to be in difficulty.
The alarm was raised at around 7.45pm when a passer-by called 999 and reported that a small boat appeared to be in trouble in Kilkee Bay in west Clare.
Watch officers at the Irish Coast Guard’s marine rescue sub-centre on Valentia Island in Co Kerry mounted and coordinated the operation. The Kilkee unit of the Irish Coast Guard and Shannon based search and rescue helicopter, Rescue 115, were tasked to the scene.
On arrival at their station, Coast Guard volunteers could see from the shore that there were two people in a double kayak who didn’t appear to be in difficulty. Volunteers did not need to launch their rescue boat but dispatched two vehicles to the other side of the bay to meet the kayakers.
Coast Guard personnel located the man and woman and advised them of the government’s social distancing guidelines and the strict advice that people should not be out except in special circumstances. The two left the area. The man is understood to have provided authorities with a Limerick address but it’s not known whether he had travelled to the area or was staying locally.
Once rescuers were satisfied that the pair were not in difficulty and did not require assistance, the rescue helicopter was stood down.
One local resident said: “They were in the bay not far from the diving boards and taking selfies. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There was no social distance and unless I’m wrong, they shouldn’t even have been out. I didn’t recognise them so they are definitely not from the area. I heard they were from Limerick. What is wrong with people? This is shocking carry-on,” he said.
Serious concern has been raised on social media during the day that people had already begun to move into holiday homes and mobile homes in Kilkee, Lahinch and Spanish Point for the Easter break.
Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan said on Twitter: “You seriously wonder how we can beat the corona virus when anyone with a holiday home decides it’s ok to decamp to it in the past few days and possibly bring trouble to small villages and towns.”
You seriously wonder how we can beat the corona virus when anyone with a holiday home decides it’s ok to decamp to it in the past few days and possibly bring trouble to small villages and towns #stayathome wherever you have been till now !! @ClareFM @rtenews @LeoVaradkar
— Michael Vaughan (@MICHEALVAUGHAN) April 6, 2020