BEAUTY spots, as well as areas with holiday homes throughout West Cork, will be targeted with Garda patrols this weekend to ensure people are abiding by Covid-19 restrictions.
That is the warning from Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan ahead of the Easter weekend.
Last Easter, people flocked to their holiday homes across West Cork for the holiday period, despite the country being in its first level five lockdown. While there has not been an influx of people to the area yet this week, gardaí are expecting that people will attempt to travel to their holiday homes over the coming days.
Chief Supt Cadogan said there would be additional checkpoints set up across the Cork West Garda division during Easter, including at beauty spots and amenity areas.
“We will be incorporating holiday homes into that operation,” he warned.
He also said that concerned local residents were very quick to contact gardaí last year when holiday homes were being occupied and he expected the same level of assistance this year.
“If we get complaints, we will have to investigate,” he added.
He said there were a large number of beauty spots and amenity areas in the Cork West Garda division that could attract people during Easter, including Gougane Barra, Farran Wood and numerous beaches.
He added that people are continuing to flout Covid-19 regulations, particularly in relation to gatherings in houses, saying that West Cork gardaí handed out fines relating to house parties in Clonakilty and Skibbereen last weekend.
Gardaí across the country will increase their presence on roads and at amenities in a bid to ensure compliance with level 5 restrictions.
Up to last Friday, gardaí had issued 12,336 €100 fines for non-essential travel, 721 €500 fines for non-essential journeys to airports/ports, and 313 fines of €100 for non-essential travel by persons not ordinarily resident in the State.
Meanwhile, there has been an inter-agency call for people to stay safe and prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the bank holiday weekend approaches.
The HSE, An Garda Síochána, Cork City Council and Cork County Council have worked together to co-ordinate the community response to Covid-19 and are asking the people of Cork to “hold firm” for a little longer.
Regional acting director of public health Dr Anne Sheahan said that she understood that “it will be tempting to visit friends and family” this weekend in particular, but that Christmas has shown us that household visits greatly speed up the spread of the virus.
“This weekend, think about making the most of what’s within your 5k with walks and picnics, but remember that, if you happen to meet a friend or family member while you’re out, you still need to keep a 2m distance,” Dr Sheahan advised.
“All indoor interactions carry risks, the more people involved the greater the risk,” she warned.