National Coast Guard bosses have issued a dancing ban after a Jerusalema dance video produced last weekend by the Dingle Coast Guard unit went viral within hours of being posted on social media.
ingle Coast Guard volunteers are willing to put their lives on the line to help others every time they are called out to an emergency on land or sea but at the weekend they took a more light-hearted approach to helping others in times of need by filming a Jerusalema dance routine at scenic spots around West Kerry. The aim was to lift people’s spirits in these dark times and the video got a hugely positive response when it hit social media.
However, national Coast Guard management took a different view and on Monday evening they issued an order banning units from producing dance videos for social media because they are considered too risky.
Cllr Seamus Cosaí Mac Gearailt, who is chairman of both the Dingle Walking Club and the Dingle/Castleisland Municipal District, was flabbergasted at the Coast Guard’s dance ban.
“These are volunteers who go out whenever they are called and they put their own lives at risk for the sake of others. Surely the national Coast Guard body can see that and lighten up a small bit,” he said.
When the Gardaí made a Jerusalema dance video everybody enjoyed it and there were no problems over it. Why should it be any different for the Coast Guard? The national body must have very little to worry about,” he said, adding: “I thought the local Coast Guard unit did a great job of the video and I enjoyed it myself.”
Prior to the national Coast Guard management’s dance ban, Dingle Coast Guard Officer in Charge Frank Heidke told The Kerryman that local members made a “spur of the moment” decision to make the dance video in solidarity with their colleagues in the frontline services and with the aim of cheering people up in these harsh times.
“We felt it was the right thing to do in solidarity with the Gardaí and frontline services. We have been overwhelmed with the response from the public and we are delighted that we could put a smile on people’s faces,” Frank said on Monday morning.
Megan Leahy choreographed the local Coast Guard volunteers’ dance routine, Ciarán Williams got on board to do the filming and after a quick rehearsal they headed out to Slea Head, Clogher and Dún Chaoin to strut their stuff.
Their performance, shot against the stunning backdrop of some of the most scenic locations in West Kerry, went viral as soon as it was released on social media and, as was the case with an earlier Jerusalema dance challenge video produced by the Gardaí, the public response was extremely positive.
But on Monday night national Coast Guard management circulated a letter to volunteers around the country saying: “It is not permitted for units to produce dance videos for social media, or indeed to assemble for any reason other than for reasons central to a unit’s operational objectives.”
“In assessing the risk of maintaining a unit’s operational availability, severity, likelihood, and detection risk controls are each evaluated. Key to likelihood risk control is the suspension of any activity not considered core to a unit’s operational objectives.”
The letter also cites the potential risk of exposure to Covid-19, adding: “Should the likelihood of exposure to Covid-19 unnecessarily increase, this may adversely affect our ability to retain our operational status and to continue with the limited return to training exercises.”
Gardaí were the first in Ireland to take up the Jerusalema dance after being challenged by their counterparts in Switzerland and a video they made of their exploits had well over 600,000 views on Youtube alone by early this week. Other frontline services have also produced Jerusalema videos. The dance video produced by Dingle Coast Guard volunteers was ratcheting up online hits by the thousand on Monday and after the national Coast Guard dance ban was issued the rate of online views accelerated.