25 Sept 2022

People flouting Covid restrictions at Blackrock beaches

People flouting Covid restrictions at Blackrock beaches

Concerns have been raised about the beaches in Blackrock being reopened and people breaching the Covid-19 5km travel restriction to go to the seaside village.

Local independent councillor Maeve Yore highlighted that Dundalk South has one of the highest Covid-19 rates in the country and raised concerns that the beaches are reopened in Blackrock.

Cllr Yore, speaking at the Louth County Council’s monthly meeting held via Zoom, said: “Numerous residents in Blackrock have contacted me with concerns over the beaches being reopened.

She said she has seen photographs of cars with northern registrations in Blackrock recently despite the current Level 5 lockdown.

Cllr Yore asked the local authority what the situation was with the beaches saying “we are opening and closing them”.

“We need to be definitive in Louth in relation to making decisions and why we are making decisions and give clear communication to the public”, she continued.

Louth County Council Chief Executive Joan Martin, in response, said that the enforcement of Covid-19 rules is a matter for the gardai.

She said herself and the local authority’s Director of Emergency Services Joe McGuinness, who deal with Covid-19 issues, are meeting the regional steering group every week, which includes the gardai, the army, the HSE, and other councils in the region.

“Questions have come up about beaches and anything like that to do with enforcement of the national rules in relation to compliance to Level 5 is ultimately a matter for the gardai”, Ms Martin said.

“We will respond if the gardai ask us to do certain things, like at one stage close beaches.

“It was agreed in south Louth that we could reopen them and gardai would monitor them.”

She advised councillors that it is a matter for the gardai and if people are coming to members then gardai should be informed of issues arising around the breaching of travel safety restrictions.

Ms Martin told the council meeting she would raise the issue of beaches being reopened in Blackrock and concerns about people breaching the 5km restrictions to go them at the next regional meeting.

Cllr Marianne Butler also raised concerns at the local authority meeting last Monday that many people are not aware about which areas are included in Dundalk South and called on the county council to raise awareness of the communities with the area with the highest Covid-19 restrictions.

Cllr Butler said: “I am concerned that there isn’t a universal awareness about where Dundalk South is and what areas it covers.

“I think this is where the local authority could make a difference when they put up tweets and updated figures for incidences per local electoral area that a map is put up to make it clear which places are in which electoral areas.

“News coverage is very much focused on Blackrock but Dundalk South is far more than Blackrock and we need to drill that message down.

“Dundalk South also includes Dromiskin, Muirhevnamor, the Avenue Road, the Quay and the Lower Point Road.

“We need to get the message out that these are the areas in Dundalk South and people in these places have to be extra careful".

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