A surfing instructor in Co Clare has called for a lifeguard service on Irish beaches during weekends in May at the very least, with full-time cover between June and September.

Ben Bennett who is based in Lahinch, said that in England and France "lifeguards have been on duty since Easter".

Speaking on RTÉ's Claire Byrne, he said that here the days that lifeguards provide cover has not changed in 50 years, but "obviously useage on beaches has completely changed."

He said this is an exceptional year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but said "the model has changed".

The situation in Lahinch was so busy at the weekend that several of his staff came in for 5-6 hours on their day off to assist in rescues.

He said one lifeguard was helping a garda search the beach for a missing child, when he was called away to rescue a woman who got into difficulty in the sea.

Read more: 'Hardier' lifeguards prepare for busy summer season ahead

In a statement to the programme, Clare Council Council said beach lifeguard services are due to start in the county's beaches next weekend and every weekend during June, with a full-time service beginning on Monday 28 June.

Mr Bennett welcomed the announcement from Clare County Council that it intends to increase lifeguard services, particularly at busier beaches in the county from next weekend where lifeguards are available for weekday also.