Cork's beaches under threat from increased visitors during Covid-19 pandemic

Cork's beaches under threat from increased visitors during Covid-19 pandemic
Inchydoney, West Cork, Ireland. Picture: Andy Gibson

WEST Cork TD, Christopher O’Sullivan has called on Cork County Council and the National Parks and Wildlife service to act and protect Cork’s beauty spots that are being tarnished by careless tourists.

Mr O’Sullivan told The Echo he was concerned from a couple of aspects, one being the Area of Conservation on Inchydoney beach.

“It’s an incredible habitat for wildlife and we must do everything we can to protect it. We don’t want a repeat of what happened on a Wexford beach recently. Where a large portion of the dune system was burnt and the habitat was absolutely destroyed.

It is a protected SAC (Special Area of Conservation) so needs state protection and protection from Cork County Council as well.” 

Mr O’Sullivan said that he thought it was wonderful that so many people were exploring the Cork coastline but said people needed to be more considerate.

“They are starting to head here in big numbers from cities. I welcome it because coastal communities need that and they are going to our beaches, which you would imagine is a safe place to social distance, relax and enjoy your holiday, but what they are doing then is leaving behind them rubbish, litter and the illegal wild campers are leaving tents behind, and we are really not signing up to our 'leave no trace' policy which we should.

The West Cork TD said it was a small percentage who are ruining it for the rest and action was needed.

“Cork County Council under the by-laws can give or deny permission for people to camp on the dune systems, therefore I feel it is they are responsible, I have contacted the head of the municipal districts and it has been passed around from pillar to post, of who has the responsibility for dealing with this spate of illegal camping and illegal camp fires.

“We have also contacted the parks and wildlife service and essentially what is happening is a game of tennis between national parks and wildlife who do have responsibility for SAC and Cork County Council who provide permission to camp on the dunes, so there is a game of tennis ongoing between them, but ultimately, they both have responsibility and they both need to take action.”

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