Housing Minister 'furious' with people who risked their lives in sea during storm Ophelia

A Government Minister says he is "furious" with people who ignored safety warnings during yesterday's storm.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, whose department takes the lead on the country's emergency plans, was responding to reports that swimmers had been spotted at Salthill in County Galway.

The lifeboat was also dispatched off Dundalk Bay after two kite surfers were seen in the water.

Minister Murphy says their actions were totally unfair.

He said: "We were in here trying to coordinate the emergency response to this, to make sure people were safe. We were doing everything that we could to try and protect people from the danger that this storm was causing.

"The idea that people went and put their own lives at risk, and at the same time then tie up vital emergency services to go and help those people... It really wasn't something that we were happy that we were seeing."

He noted that there will be other severe weather in the future, and that it will be vital to ensure people understand they are unnecessarily tying up emergency services if they put their lives at risk.

Pic: Dominick Walsh.

He said: "In the course of yesterday, people were asking questions about what is the sanction for these people, and what can be done... I think that is something that is worth looking at."

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