PEOPLE are increasingly defying Covid-19 restrictions, with everything from house parties to lavish birthday celebrations, gardaí have said.
A creeping complacency has seen more and more people ignore strict bans on movement and gatherings imposed by governtment to stop the spread of the virus, which has now claimed 1,087 lives in Ireland.
Gardaí have described incidents in Cork where authorities had to break up private gatherings.
“There’s the house parties and birthday parties,” a garda spokesman said.
"It’s almost like a badge of honour for people like this to believe they have pulled a fast one and gotten away with it.
"Ultimately, it’s themselves they are potentially hurting.
"Sadly, it’s society who will pay the price.
"The longer this goes on the higher the price will be to society.
"An awful lot of cracks are beginning to show. This is a much longer road than people realise.”
Lord Mayor Cllr John Sheehan, who also works as a GP, acknowledged the increasing complacency.
“There’s a weariness setting in,” he said.
“People have felt they’ve been good for so long. Now, they feel they need to be rewarded," he added.
"What tends to happen from a public health point of view is that people justify the behaviour by reminding themselves that they won’t be mixing with the public.
"They convince themselves that just because they’re only going to the beach they won’t be mixing with the public.”
He explained the difficulties that this mindset presents.
“The problem is that when we add up all these movements it gets to a stage where they contribute quite significantly.
"The weather has been good up till now and complacency has started to creep in. In terms of ICU figures we are doing quite well. However, this can flair up so quickly."
Bantry-based local music producer Wayne P Sheehy said a number of people have ignored travel restrictions to visit the beauty spot.
He recently witnessed a family who travelled all the way from Youghal in a camper van to visit the area.
"A number of people think this place is their little secret. What they don’t realise is that this is 20 other people’s little secret too!"
Wayne explained how he has been forced to confront those breaching travel restrictions.
“It’s not in my nature to argue with people but I do want to protect them.
"The local people aren’t wandering from home but some outsiders feel they should have special privileges and this just isn’t right.”