New Technological Solutions to Reducing Damage and Theft of Ringbuoys "A stolen ringbuoy is a stolen life" - John Leech, Chief Executive, Water Safety Ireland, tells us about an exciting project aimed at reducing theft of lifesaving ringbuoys. Ireland has thousands of ringbuoys located all over the country, which are erected and maintained by Local Authorities. However, there has been an ongoing problem with stolen and damaged ringbuoys. In the Dublin City Council area alone, approximately fifteen ringbuoys are stolen every week. This equates to around six hundred ringbuoys replaced each year at a total cost of about €20,000. More importantly, "A stolen ringbuoy is a stolen life." Four companies are piloting a range of innovative technological solutions to supply low-cost, retrofit, technology solutions to monitor ringbuoys in real time and report whenthey are stolen. The project has been funded through the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Public Service Innovation Fund 2019, with match-funding from Dublin City Council’s Smart City Team, who are leading the project, supported by the Water Safety Development Officers in Dublin City, Fingal, Dunlaoghaire Rathdown and South Dublin County Councils. The project has also been supported by Water Safety Ireland from the outset. There project will bring several benefits, including reducing the number of ringbuoys stolen or interfered with, reducing the cost of maintaining the ringbuoys and reducing the time taken for the County Councils to replace them. This unique pilot project is being managed through an innovative procurement two-phase multi-party framework agreement. It is the first time such a framework is being used in Ireland and has been supported through the European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (EAFIP), a European programme for innovation procurement. Procurement specialists in the Netherlands Corvers Commercial & Legal Affairs Ltd. and A&L Goodbody have advised throughout the process. Phase One is a nine-month trial phase (three months preparation and six months live testing, which was due to commence in early March). The four companies who have taken up this challenge are Civic Integrated Solutions Ltd.; SEMICON Teoranta; RE:SURE Intelligence Ltd. and ZiggyTec Ltd. All companies whose solutions are deemed successful at the end of Phase One will automatically proceed to Phase Two. There are twenty-three local authorities, including the four Dublin Regional Councils which are listed on the framework. In Phase Two, they can draw down on the successful solutions through a mini-competition and buy them, without going out to tender or having to comply with the Government procurement guidelines. This way, the solutions can be scaled up and deployed nationally, as individual local authorities see fit. The early indications are very interesting and I am confident that it will help save lives when the successful systems are rolled out around the country. In addition to these technological solutions, Ireland was also moving legislation through our Dail (Parliament) to help our Gardai (Police) prosecute members of the public for interfering, damaging or stealing this essential Public Rescue Equipment. Unfortunately, because of the change of Government in Ireland in June 2020, this legislation has now lapsed. Hopefully when this pandemic comes under some kind of control, we can pursue this legislation again. Find out more about ringbuoys click www.ringbuoys.ie or read the Water Safety Ireland Guidance Note.