Declan Barry of Waterford Marine Search & Rescue, speaking at the Edmund Rice Centre. 	| Photo: Noel Browne

Declan Barry of Waterford Marine Search & Rescue, speaking at the Edmund Rice Centre. | Photo: Noel Browne

Waterford Marine Search and Rescue has to raise €30,000 to permit the acquisition of a new centre, where those awaiting news of a loved one who has entered the River Suir could find some refuge and welcome.
Speaking at the Waterford Women’s Network event on mental health and suicide on Thursday last, Declan Barry said the service would welcome any thoughts or initiatives which would help to shore the funding gap for its new facility. “We’ll sit down with anyone who has an idea about assisting us to deliver this project.
We need to raise €120,000 – we’re at around €80,000 at present so we’re about €30,000 shy and given that there are so many organisations looking to do fundraising, it is hard – there are a lot of worthy causes out there…
“But we need a facility like this, especially when you take into account the nature of searches in the river, which can extend to 30 days or longer. People waiting for news ought to have a place they can sit down in, out of the weather, to hear about the nature of the search, so any help we can get from anyone to get us across the line in terms of funding for a new building would be greatly appreciated.”
Since the service was established in 2010 by brothers Declan and Daryl Barry, 108 people have been saved, said Declan. “We’ve talked 80 people back from the railings and we’ve actually rescued 28 people from the water. For that to happen, we have 50 volunteers aged between 18 and 65, male and female.
All our volunteers are 100 per cent voluntary – no-one gets paid from the Board of Directors down to the volunteers – all the money we raise goes back into the organisation and it’s important to let people know that, and we are so grateful for the support we receive from the people of Waterford, which allows us to go out and save lives.”
The service, which has two vans and three rescue boats “on the water 24/7”, trains four nights a week and are on patrol on The Quay every Saturday night from 10.30pm, in both the water, along the waterside and near Rice Bridge.