What We Do At Water Safety Ireland

Our focus is on public awareness and education. Tragically, an average of 120 people drown each year in Ireland.  We feel that this is simply unacceptable considering that most fatalities are avoidable.  We strive to reduce these fatalities by increasing water safety awareness and by changing attitudes and behaviours so that our aquatic environments can be enjoyed with confidence and safety.

What WE DO
Strategic Development

History of WSI

Water Safety Ireland’s long and proud history has been published, thanks to the wonderful efforts of author Tiarnan O’Sullivan who has been involved with WSI since 2002, working as both a pool and beach lifeguard and volunteering as an instructor and as secretary of our Cork committee.

Tiarnan began researching our history in early 2013 and has captured delightful stories, many from the founding members of the organisation, established in 1945.

Doors were opened, attics were trolled and memories awoken that are now reflected in 288 pages of vigorous and often witty reflections.

Order via [email protected] / 091-564400 / Lo-Call 1890-420.202

Softback: 15 Euros; Hardback: 25 Euros


Meet Our Team

See more about Water Safety Ireland’s Council & what our Commissions do.

Working Groups are appointed within each.

Clare McGrath


Clare is the Chairman of the Sports commission. Member of sport commission for 12 years, she is a member of Water Safety Ireland, Clare. She has been involved in organisation of Regional and National lifesaving competitions, both pool and beach for 15 years. She works with Clare County Council, as the Water Safety Development Officer, within the Environment Section. She is an active Water Safety Ireland instructor, examiner, tutor and international referee and she has worked as a referee at the highest level at European and World competitions. She is currently the Chairman of the Board of Swim Ireland.

Seamus O’Neill


Seamus started lifesaving at the age of 10 and became an Instructor in 1975. Seamus is an Examiner, Lifeguard provider, International Beach Referee, Tutor and currently Chairman of the WSI Sports Commission and has served on the Education and Swimming Commissions. He is currently Treasurer of Donegal Water Safety Area Committee.

Michael “Buddy” Cuddihy

Micheal has been a member of the board since 1987. During this time he has served on many national and international committees and is currently the Chairperson of the Lifeguard Commission and Vice Chairman of the Sports Commission of the European region (ILSE). He is also an executive member of the European College of Referees. He has a special interest in promoting sport within international lifesaving and has brought teams to South Africa, Australia, the USA and mainland Europe to compete successfully in international events. He is currently Treasurer of Waterford Water Safety Area Committee

Paul Murphy

Paul is from Dublin and Paul has been involved in Water Safety Ireland for over 35 years. He is involved in WSI as an Instructor, Examiner, Pool & Beach Lifeguard Provider and Swim Teacher Tutor, He is currently the Vice-Chairman and Certificates Secretary of the Dublin Water Safety Area Committee. Paul has also served WSI on different Commissions over the last 15 years and at present is the Secretary of the WSI Lifeguard/Lifesaving Commission.

Philip Keleghan

Philip is from Co.Wicklow and has been involved in Water Safety and other aquatic activities for over forty years. He is an active Water Safety Instructor, Examiner and Swimming Tutor and is currently Vice-Chairman of Kildare Water Safety. He has a special interest in the development of strong local area committees and is currently working to develop an Inland Water Safety and Lifesaving Training Centre at Blessington. Philip is currently the Chairman of the WSI Education Commission.

Anne Ryan

Anne is a Wexford Native, Anne is an Instructor and Volunteer with Water Safety Ireland since 1995. Among her many credentials within the volunteering ethos of Water Safety Ireland, Anne is also the Local Area Secretary, a Swim Teacher and Examiner and the Wexford Water Safety Area Committee Secretary. In addition to these activities, Anne finds the time to organise Cahore Outdoor Water Safety Week, with which she has played an active part since 1996. In addition to working on FETAC updates, Anne works on all matters assigned to the Education Commission of which she is Vice Chair and is the QQI representative.

Karen Morton

Karen lives in Dublin and is a Marketing Mentor & Consultant as well as a speaker on topics such as Mentoring and Social Media. Karen’s career spans a mixture of multinationals (Dell, British Airways & Eircom) and fast growth start-ups (Monster.com) in a wide range of sectors. Karen spent 10 years at Dell in Marketing leadership roles including Chief Marketing Officer of Dell Financial Services. Karen’s areas of expertise include Marketing, Communications, Social/Digital, Strategy and general Commercial. Karen led the Dell Women’s Network for 3 years and sat on the Connecting Women in IT committee in Dublin. Karen is a graduate of the University of Limerick where she received an Honours Degree in Marketing & French. Karen is a previous Board member of the University of Limerick Alumni Association, Karen has a keen interest in water safety and was a Lifeguard at University.

Peter Cleere

Peter is a native of Skeoughvosteen, Co Kilkenny. He is currently a member of Kilkenny Water Safety since 2014 and is currently a county councillor for the Kilkenny City East Municipal area for Kilkenny County Council. He is also currently Chairperson of the Kilkenny Carlow Education Training Board (KCETB). Peter has 17 years’ experience in the financial services industry and is a fully Qualified Financial Adviser (QFA) and also is a holder of the Professional Diploma in Financial Services. His leisure interests are primarily around GAA, where he currently is a player and an underage coach with his local club.

Anastasia Ward

Anastasia, B.L. originally from Ballinasloe, County Galway, is a Barrister who qualified in 1994. In addition, she has worked as a consultant to the Office of the Attorney General and has lectured across a vast selection of subject areas in a wide variety of third-level institutions including the Law Society of Ireland and Griffith College Dublin. She also runs a small pharmacy chain in partnership with her husband. Anastasia swam competitively for a number of years in the 1980’s at a provincial level, and during this time, she also undertook lifesaving training. These experiences lead her to an appreciation of the importance of water safety generally, and of swimming as a life skill. Her leisure interests, apart from swimming, include cinema and classical music.

Tom O’Mahony

Tom O’Mahony lives in Dunboyne, Co Meath. He is a retired civil servant and served as Secretary General of the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. In a previous role in the Department of the Environment he was involved in the statutory establishment of Water Safety Ireland, then Irish Water Safety, in 1999. He is very active in the fields of sport (where he is President of St Patrick’s Athletic FC and a member of the Board of the Federation of Irish Sport) and music (as a recording artist under the stage name Tommy Keyes).

Technical Committee

The Technical Committee works closely with Rescue, Lifesaving, Swimming, IRB and the Sport’s Commission. The Commission’s recommendations are forwarded to the Technical Committee for consideration and onward recommendation or otherwise to Council.


  • Co-ordinate and monitor the work of all Technical Commissions
  • Review all Technical Commission recommendations and forward as appropriate all suitable recommendations to Council for approval
  • Review all Lifesaving syllabi & publications
  • Manage the bi-annual IWS Examiners Conference
  • Identify and Prioritise the new projects with Commissions

Audit and HR Commission


  • Monitoring Expenditure and Income
  • Internal Financial Controls & Risk Management
  • Internal Audits
  • External Audits
  • HR Matters
  • Define an approach for the continuation of management development for both existing and new staff
  • Health & Safety
  • National & International meeting and conferences

Marketing Commission


  • Produce marketing and promotional material as outlined within the S.I., Strategic Development Plan & Business Plan
  • Source forms of sponsorship
  • Market the IWS Brand
  • Standardisation of merchandise – certificates, etc.
  • Standardisation and publication of Books, Manuals, Leaflets, Posters
  • Manage the strategy for Press releases
  • Monitor Press Cuttings
  • Ensure that IWS is well represented at exhibitions countrywide
  • Liaise with RoSPA & the Marine Safety Working Group
  • Promotion of public awareness of Water Safety
  • Assist in organising National Ceremonies, Conferences & Events
  • Represent IWS at LAMA Awards
  • Promote the wearing of Lifejackets.
  • Develop the commercial strand to our organisation; improve branding and PR
  • Analyse drowning statistics

Rescue Commission


  • Promote Blue Flag safety standards and other aquatic environmental issues
  • Manage Risk Assessments at local, national & international level
  • Manage the VAT Exemption Inspections as per S.I. 249 of 2013
  • Manage the SEIKO JIT Rescue Award
  • Training of CRBI personnel in rescue on inland and maritime waters
  • Liaise with Community Rescue Boats Ireland
  • Carry out usage tests on rescue equipment & review documentation
  • Manage the Open Water Safety Awareness courses

Sports Commission


  • Improve liaison with Swim Ireland in regards to our NGB funding
  • Improve liaison with the Federation of Irish Sport
  • Improve liaison with Coaching Ireland
  • Manage International and National Competitions
  • Train & appoint Coaches, Referees and Officials
  • Ensure all WADA regulations are enforced for our athletes
  • Recommend Sports Equipment
  • Manage International Life Saving Sport & Competitions
  • Promote and develop lifesaving sport in Ireland
  • Liaison with the Olympic Council of Ireland
  • Draw up procedures for all activities and competitions

Lifeguard Commission


  • The promotion of efficiency and standardisation of the Lifeguard Service
  • The improvement of national standards for Lifeguards
  • All matters dealing with Lifeguards (Pool, Beach, River)
  • Recommend national standard for all lifesaving equipment
  • The provision of instruction in water safety, rescue, resuscitation and recovery skills
  • Ensure European Resuscitation Council guidelines are adhered to by our membership
  • Liaison with PHECC
  • The provision of instruction in water safety, rescue, resuscitation and recovery skills.
  • European Qualification Framework in Lifeguarding
  • Critical Incident Stress Management

Education Commission


  • Promotion of measures, including the advancement of education, related to the prevention of accidents in the aquatic environment
  • Maintain and develop training and water safety awareness programmes within the Irish Educational System.
  • Develop a Transition Year water safety programme
  • Develop the Teachers Training Courses
  • Development of further FETAC  awards
  • Review and update all Children’s welfare, protection & educational documents
  • Arrange seminars for Designated Liaison Persons
  • Liaise with the Dept of Education to maximise water safety awareness training and public awareness programmes.
  • Manage, monitor and enforce best practices in accordance with Children First and our own Code of Ethics for children and all relevant legislation pertaining to child welfare and protection.

Swimming Commission


  • The provision of instruction in Swimming in order to teach lifesaving
  • Train & examine Swimming teachers and Tutors to National Standards
  • Manage the Annual Water Safety Area Committee Officers Conference
  • Improve membership and communication with WSAC’s
  • Monitor standards of Governance of WSAC’s
  • Represent IWS at IFSTA
  • Ensure IWS is represented on the White Flag Jury
  • Implement a programme of risk assessments in swimming pools
  • Evaluate the number of Swim Certificates in IWS
  • Review all swimming related documents and update as necessary

Inshore Rescue Boats (IRB) Commission


  • Develop a syllabus for training lifeguards in the use of IRB’s
  • Arrange training courses for Lifeguards in the use of IRB’s
  • Assist in the management of the WSDO’s Conference
  • Manage National & International IRB Competitions
  • Arrange for safety cover at all IWS events & competitions where such cover is required.
  • VHF Radio short range courses.

Working Groups

Suicide WG

Open Water Awareness WG


Swimming Pool RA WG

Strategic Development Plan WG


Internal Auditors: Tom Keating, Paul Burke

National DLP: Ashling Nesbitt