The Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) has issued a stark warning to the public after a swimmer suffered a compressed vertebrae, broken rib and damage to her lungs when a dolphin rammed into her in Doolin, County Clare.

According to RTE the incident, which happened as the woman was trying to climb out of the water, was one of several to involve the dolphin, called Dusty, in recent weeks.

In a statement on its website, the IWDG said: 'Clearly this level of injury is very serious and a fatal attack could easily happen.'

'IWDG are concerned that more people may be planning to visit Doolin over the long weekend and as always we request people not to enter the water with this bottlenose dolphin, or any dolphin for that matter.'

In response to these developments the IWDG has put up posters around Doolin harbor warning the public about the hazards of swimming with Dusty.

'Clearly a contingency plan needs to be developed with the relevant and competent authorities in the near future on management of Dusty and swimmers in Doolin,' an IWDG spokesperson told the press. It is long-standing IWDG policy to discourage the public from swimming with whales and dolphins in Ireland.

Dusty has been in North Clare since 2000, where she was first seen in the waters near Doolin.