| 9.8°C Dublin

Anton Savage: It's time to make the careless pay for the cost of rescuing them


The Restaurant on TV3 Marie Cassidy and Stephen McAllister

The Restaurant on TV3 Marie Cassidy and Stephen McAllister

The Restaurant on TV3 Marie Cassidy and Stephen McAllister

The RNLI has released its rescue numbers for 2014. They included aid to leisure craft users (536 call outs), assistance to fishing vessels (140), help given to people who got into difficulty along the shoreline (119), and to people in the water (185).

The numbers reveal a disparity between private and commercial rescues. In a reversal of what might be expected, most of the RNLI's time is spent rescuing amateurs in leisure craft - 536 amateurs. That's compared to 140 commercial vessels.

Undoubtedly some of those leisure craft will have been rescued from emergencies which were unavoidable. But a lot of the rescues were for running aground or engine trouble. In these cases some blame should be apportioned. Running aground is mostly a result bad driving.

'Engine trouble' is something you can plan for - by having a spare 'kicker' engine.

In the US there are sea-going versions of the AA - private services who will come get you if you break down.

The RNLI is not like them. The RNLI is charity-funded and staffed and crewed largely by volunteers, most of whom have to leave work to jump on the rescue boats and many of whom risk their lives in horrendous weather to rescue people in difficulty.

Wasting their time and money is not a good thing. So we need a little legislative tweak to make RNLI rescues chargeable to the person who was rescued if their difficulty was created by lack of preparation or taking silly risks.

We could probably include the Coastguard while we're at it (those helicopters don't fuel and crew themselves).

I'm not saying that people should be charged for having their lives saved, but if someone puts themselves and the RNLI in danger through stupidity or recklessness, then they should feel consequences in their bank balance.

TV3 dead right on Cassidy TV3 got in some hot water for putting out a press release promoting the Chief State Pathologist's appearance on The Restaurant.

The problem was that the release was peppered with 'humorous' references to death. Some felt that making joking references to Marie Cassidy (right) investigating murders, accidents and killings was inappropriate.

It isn't. She's a pathologist. That's what pathologists do. They deal with the dead. In Marie Cassidy's case she has dealt with every conceivable form of dead body - from thousand year old mummies, unearthed from bogs to decades-old remains, to contemporary victims of terrorism and criminality.

That doesn't make her an ascetic. It makes her an experienced professional, who also has a life outside the pathology lab.

TV3 are entirely within their rights to reflect that sense of humour when referring to her profession. The only thing we should wish is that their jokes were funnier.

One hot topic ... no bun intended

Kentucky Fried Chicken have perfected the hot-dog. Never again will space be taken up with pointless 'buns'. The chicken chain has removed the bread from the dog and replaced it with deep fried chicken. Yup, a frankfurter, nestled in a breaded fillet, lathered in ketchup.

Quite what problem this solves is unclear - to my knowledge, no-one has ever bitten into a hot dog and thought: 'Damn, all this bread is getting in the way of my meat experience. Why isn't this deep fried?'

KFC has not yet made this paragon of healthy eating available in Ireland.

We can but hope.