Councillors in Co Clare have this week given their backing to a motion to ban the use of inflatable toys on the county's beaches and lakes.

The move comes as figures from the Irish Coast Guard reveal that the service responded to 20 incidents this year involving inflatables.

The use of inflatable rings, flamingos, beds and other items have become popular on Irish beaches as people holidayed at home due to Covid-19.

The motion to ban the toys was put forward by the Mayor of Clare County Council, Councillor Mary Howard.

She said that the inflatable toys had become very popular on beaches this year but also were the source of a number of call outs of emergency and rescue services.

Cllr Howard said that these toys have a place in pools or at resorts in Ibiza or Lanzarote but not on Irish lakes or open water.

The proposed ban has been welcomed by water safety officers. Clare McGrath, who is the water safety officer for Co Clare, said that at the moment that lifeguards can only advice people not to use inflatables.

She said that if the ban was supported by by-laws that it removes any discussion regarding their use.

Roger Sweeney of Water Safety Ireland said that the rescue services witnessed an increase this year in the number of call outs associated with inflatables.

He said that they would welcome a ban as a change in behavior is needed regarding their use.

Mr Sweeney added that if nothing is done "we will continue to hear about rescues and accidents regarding inflatables, or perhaps even worse".

Clare County Council is now going to look into how to incorporated the ban into its beach by-laws.

A number of other local authorities are following similar steps.