FORMER Clare Civil Defence officer and water safety development officer (WSDO), Liam Griffin, has been named Irish Water Safety’s 60th Life Governor in recognition of his dedication towards the humanitarian goal of saving lives from drowning.
Clare County Council’s WSDO from 1996 until his recent retirement, Liam followed in the footsteps of the late Noel Carmody, who died before his time and was regarded by his contemporaries as one of the best WSDO’s ever.
Liam maintained and then improved standards in the performance of his duties as WSDO and as a member of Irish Water Safety (IWS).
Clare is one of the most challenging counties in which to hold this brief, being surrounded by water on three sides.
To the west is the Atlantic Ocean, with the west coast famous for its many swimming and surfing beaches, from Bishop’s Quarter in North Clare, to Fanore, Lahinch, Milltown Malbay, Spanish Point and Kilkee in the south.
Inland, Clare is bounded by the Shannon and Lough Derg in the east, where thousands of people enjoy these waters each year angling, sailing and cruising.
The Fergus and Shannon estuaries are to the south, which are also busy waterways with strong tidal currents enjoyed by the public. There are many small lakes in Clare and several other substantial rivers.
Every conceivable use is made of those waters, including angling, bathing, surfing, diving, dolphin-watching, sailing, kayaking and commercial fishing.
Managing public safety in these contexts is therefore a significant and onerous responsibility, which Liam has discharged well over 14 years.
Liam is held in the highest regard by his colleague WSDOs in all other local authorities and his contributions to debates at their conferences and meetings have always been renowned for his wisdom gained through experience and his endless common sense, which has carved a sensible drowning prevention strategy, carefully executed by Clare County Council during that time.