Irresponsible parking close to a busy Coast Guard station has hindered volunteers responding to and returning from emergency calls.
The latest incident occurred last night when Killaloe Coast Guard unit was requested by Gardaí to assist with intercepting jetskis speeding and putting swimmers in danger around Ballina/Killaloe and the Two Mile Gate area.
At 8.00pm the unit launched from Pier Head and while on route to Killaloe bridge two jetskis were immediately stopped and requested to return to Ballina slipway. One ski was found to have had three teenagers on board a one without a life jacket. The second was speeding and this person has already been spoken to in the past about the speed restrictions in the area.
In the space of just 10 minutes a total of seven jetskis were requested to return to Ballina slipway where a shore team spoke with all the owners.
The crew then proceeded to Two Mile Gate where a jetski had entered the busy swimming area at speed and went dangerously close to kids swimming. While the crew were out on this call the Coast Guard received a number of complaints from other boat owners in the area about the dangerous manoeuvres been carried out around swimming areas in particular.
While crews were responding to this call-out the entrance to Pier Head, where the Coast Guard station is located, was again blocked by cars been abandoned in the middle of the access road.
When this was finally cleared a Coast Guard response vehicle was again blocked exiting the station by another car while on returning from the incident the road was also blocked meaning volunteers could not get back into the station until cars had been moved.
A Coast Guard spokesperson said: “The parking leading into Pier Head over the past week has been unbelievable to say the least, despite having signs up reminding people it’s emergency service access people still choose to ignore them. We would again plead with people to stop blocking our access to the Coast Guard station and park responsibly. Every second counts when responding to emergency calls.”