Councillor Andrea McKevitt has raised concerns over the number of tourists arriving into the Carlingford area despite the country still being under a level five lockdown.
As part of the government’s current restrictions, people are required to stay at home except for travel for work, education or other essential purposes, while also permitting exercise within five kilometres of home.
Travel for recreation is strictly against the guidelines, however in recent weeks there has been a spike in the number of holidaymakers arriving at the seaside village and the Fianna Fail Councillor has had residents in touch concerned the practice will continue.
“I’ve had a few people contact me about holidaymakers essentially traveling to the village, especially during the midterm break and Valentines Weekend” she stated.
“There a lot of tourists coming to the area and I suppose they are fearful that it may happen again as St Patrick’s Day approaches.”
Throughout the pandemic Louth has been one of the worst hit counties in the country, with statistics in January stating one in every 45 people in the county had tested positive for COVID-19 in the first two weeks of 2021.
Back in September The Dundalk-Carlingford area had the highest incidence rate of COVID-19 locally per 100,000 and McKevitt does not want to see the region suffer again due to the actions of tourists.
“The holidaymakers travelling to the area, they are not just breaking the five-kilometre rule, they are posing a serious health risk to the residents and natives of the village who are keeping within their five kilometres.”
“We were one of the worst affected areas throughout the whole pandemic, so we know what it is like to be there and we don’t want to go back.”
The Riverstown based councillor raised concerns about the holidaymakers at a recent Dundalk Municipal District council meeting, stating that the properties engaging in the act of short-term letting are easily found online and should be held accountable for their actions.
“I have been advised that the properties engaging in these activities are featured in the likes of Air bnb and booking.com so therefore they can be easily identified and we can track who is engaging in these activities. I am asking for enforcement to follow up on the issue.”
Hoping to put residents at ease, she has liaised with the authorities to help stop more people descending on the village, stressing now was not the time to be enjoying a short break by the sea.
“We have been in contact with the Gardai and they have put checkpoints up now at peak times when people would be travelling such as for the weekend and they have been turning people away who are coming to holiday.”
“It is not a time to go on holidays, we are all living through this pandemic and we should all be looking to get through it together as opposed to ignoring the regulations and restrictions that are in place.”