Irish Water Safety in warning over Christmas swims

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Irish Water Safety has appealed to anyone planning a swim over the coming days to take the utmost caution and to swim only when with a group.

Chairman Martin O’Sullivan said the group did not want to spoil anyone’s Christmas fun but wanted everyone to come back safely.

He said people should never swim alone and groups organising swims should try to have a lifeguard present.

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With a gale warning in force on all Irish coastal waters today and for Christmas Day, heavy swells and large waves are expected particularly on the west coast.

Clare County Council has called for extreme caution, warning large waves cause strong currents which are very dangerous for swimmers.

Anyone planning a swim is advised to check local conditions.

Meanwhile, ferry passengers faced disruption with some services cancelled due to adverse weather conditions.

Irish Ferries cancelled its Dublin Swift ferry service to and from Holyhead.

It said passengers will be accommodated on other services.

Stena Line has also said there could be disruption as a result of adverse weather conditions.

Winds of up to 80km/h are forecast, as a status yellow warning is in place until tomorrow afternoon for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Sligo, Clare, Cork, Kerry and Limerick.

Gusts of up to 110km/h are forecast for Donegal, Galway, Leitrim, Mayo and Sligo as stormy conditions continue through Christmas night into the early hours of St Stephen’s morning.

AA Roadwatch has warned that wind-blown debris could be a problem on secondary roads and have urged motorists to drive with care.

The Irish Coast Guard has warned people that with a risk of stormy weather on Christmas Day to take care along exposed coastal areas and to only participate in organised swims where medical support and lifeguards are available.

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