'We need to look after our community': Councillor warns against influx of holiday makers to West Cork

'We need to look after our community': Councillor warns against influx of holiday makers to West Cork
Despite the government imploring people to stay at home for the Easter weekend, a Baltimore car park was almost full today. Picture: Andy Gibson

A local councillor has warned against the influx of people into West Cork towns to holiday over the Easter break.

Union Hall, Baltimore and Glandore have experienced a “massive” influx as people flock to stay in holiday homes this Easter weekend.

Fine Gael Councillor Karen Coakley warned that people must adhere to restrictions in order to protect people from the Covid-19 virus.

She said that there has been calls for concern from locals and an “awful lot of concern” on social media.

“We need to look after our community. While we value business and business is important, right now health is most important. Our health is our wealth and we need to make sure that we are protecting people. Our older people are cocooning and most other people in the community are adhering to the regulations and the restrictions.

“We welcome people and we want people to come and visit but unfortunately now is not the right time. Here in West Cork we’re so fortunate, we’re all this beautiful air and we have space and if we have people coming from cities when sadly the East has had such high statistics, it’s bound to be a concern for people.” 

Councillor Karen Coakley.
Councillor Karen Coakley.

She said that people arriving from other parts of the country are putting the communities in West Cork towns who have been following the guidelines in danger.

“People are being good and yet there's a chance they're going to get the virus even though they’re doing everything right themselves. It’s just not knowing that’s the problem.

“Even people in the supermarkets, if we have people going in to do the shopping from their holiday homes, the workers are the people who are at risk and they’re working such hard hours and they’re doing fantastic,” she said.

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

New regulations signed by Minister for Health Simon Harris will see those found disregarding the 2km radius travel restrictions fined or imprisoned Those caught travelling without an essential reason or those exercising more than 2km from their homes can be given a fine of up to €2,500 or a prison sentence of up to six months.

Cllr Coakley said: “With the new law brought in last night that the gardaí have the power to stop people and question them I would say that that it should impact on the numbers travelling but sadly it will be too late for some people.” “We love our tourists and we’re so dependent on them, they contribute so much to West Cork but we don’t want to be spreading the virus we need to keep Covid-19 out,” she said.

Youghal beach in East Cork is one of fourteen beaches which are to close ahead of Easter weekend.
Youghal beach in East Cork is one of fourteen beaches which are to close ahead of Easter weekend.

Cork County Council Chief Executive, Tim Lucey, announced the closure of car parks at fourteen beachside locations in Cork county.

The decision was made bearing in mind the 2km travel restriction, the impact on resources in terms of monitoring beach use and the Easter weekend and improving weather conditions.

The beachside car parks that are to close include: Youghal beach, Claycastle beach, Garryvoe beach, Ballycotton Cliff Walk, Fountainstow, Garrylucas, Barleycove, Garnish, Tragumna, Lough Hyne, The Warren, Inchydoney, Owenahincha, and Long Strand.

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