Ferry companies respond to concerns of West Cork locals reporting increase in visitor numbers

Ferry companies respond to concerns of West Cork locals reporting increase in visitor numbers
Essential travel made by Irish Ferries passengers is still operational under restricted movement measures.

Concerns among communities of West Cork towns are growing as people make their way to holiday homes and caravan parks this week, despite the 2km radius travel restriction put in place by the government.

Locals took to social media to express their concerns and reported seeing an increase in UK vehicle registrations in coastal areas of the county.

Ferry companies who are still operating between the UK and Ireland have advised that passengers should only travel for essential purposes.

Simon Palmer, Communications Manager for Stena Line, which is still operating its ferry service from Fishguard in Wales to Rosslare Harbour in Wexford, said that passenger numbers over the Easter weekend were low.

Speaking to The Echo, he confirmed that a total of 26 passengers are due to arrive into Rosslare on Stena Line ferries over the weekend.

Five passengers are due to travel on Saturday, seven on Sunday and fourteen on Monday.

He said that those passengers who have already travelled to Ireland from Wales were deemed to be taking essential travel.

“Some passengers were on the ferry because they couldn’t fly home, so people were meeting them at the port. We had people in a UK reg who were Irish, they were moving back to Ireland because they had lost work and then we had a couple of engineers coming over to fix equipment.

“We’re advising our passengers to adhere to government regulations and to only undertake essential travel,” he said.

Passenger numbers on Stena Line's Fishguard to Rosslare service are forecast as low for the Easter weekend with a total of 26 passengers due to travel.
Passenger numbers on Stena Line's Fishguard to Rosslare service are forecast as low for the Easter weekend with a total of 26 passengers due to travel.

Mr Palmer said that the company is concentrating on keeping essential supply lines open.

“99% of our work now is freight. We’re the reason why you have toilet paper on the shelves again. It’s food and household goods for supermarkets and it’s medical equipment as well,” he said.

Irish Ferries, which operates a service from Holyhead in Wales to Dublin, also continues to operate scheduled journeys linking Ireland to Britain and France.

A spokesperson for the company said that it is now playing a “critical role” in ensuring supermarket shelves remain stocked and pharmaceutical and medical supplies are shipped.

The spokesperson said that essential travel such as repatriation, travel for essential workers, or to care for loved ones or vulnerable relatives is still operational under restricted movement measures.

“Irish Ferries continues to adapt its procedures and services on board in accordance with published advice and guidance from relevant health authorities.

“This includes for example, encouraging appropriate social distancing on board, increasing the frequency of onboard cleaning routines, displaying HSE notices regarding Covid-19, public announcements regarding social distancing and making hand sanitiser dispensers widely available,” the spokesperson said.

All bars, onboard cinemas and lounges have also been closed.

Photo: Brittany Ferries
Photo: Brittany Ferries

Brittany Ferries, which operates services from Roscoff in France to Cork and from Bilbao in Spain to Rosslare, have suspended all passenger services until further notice.

Gardaí are out in force across Cork city and county this weekend to stop people who continue to attempt to make long distance journeys since the introduction of new garda powers on Wednesday.

New garda regulations signed by the Minister Simon Harris will see those found disregarding the 2km radius travel restrictions fined or imprisoned for up to six months.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris announced earlier this week that people staying in their holiday homes will need to remain there for the duration of the Covid-19 restrictions.

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