Cork's county mayor urges people not to gather at beauty spots

Cork's county mayor urges people not to gather at beauty spots

Large crowds gathered around the city on Sunday to enjoy the sunny weather. Hundreds could be seen on Grand Parade and Kennedy Quay to take in the sun and enjoy the warm weather.

CORK’S county mayor has issued a plea asking the public to not gather en masse at beauty spots as the weather improves.

In recent days in the city and county, people have gathered at parks, amenities and public spaces such as The Lough, the Marina, and Kennedy Quay.

Towns such as Bantry and Schull were left littered after people gathered to have picnics in the sunshine over the weekend.

Co Cork Mayor Mary Linehan Foley has called for people “to continue to comply with social distancing and public health guidance”.

“Large numbers assembling at beauty spots and group gatherings puts everyone at risk and could impact our prospects for enjoying a real summer and welcome the opening of our valued county businesses,” said Ms Linehan Foley.

“We’re all looking forward to supporting the recovery of our local economies while enjoying the best of the summer season but to do so we have to remain committed to suppressing this virus.”

An Garda Síochána issued a total of 44 fines throughout the month of April up to April 22 for not wearing a face covering.

A total of 96 fines were given to event organisers in dwellings and non-dwellings, and 340 fines were issued to those who attended events in dwellings over the month of April.

There have been a total of 2,103 fines issued in Cork City, 708 fines issued in North Cork, and 537 in West Cork.

Councillors in Cork have expressed mixed reaction to the crowds that gathered both in the city centre and across the county in recent days.

Speaking to The Echo, Fine Gael councillor Shane O’Callaghan said he can understand people’s frustrations, but warned that socialising in busy spots could lead to another lockdown.

The deputy lord mayor said: “The weather is fantastic and people are anxious to try to get back to normal as soon as possible, enjoy the sunshine and socialise again but having said that, the guidelines are in place for a reason and we’re nearly there.

“If we stay the course, hopefully things will be back to some sort of normality by the summer. But if not, there’s the danger that things could unravel and we could end up having to go into another lockdown which would be an absolute disaster for the country.”

Co Cork Mayor Mary Linehan Foley has called for people “to continue to comply with social distancing and public health guidance”. Pic: Brian Lougheed
Co Cork Mayor Mary Linehan Foley has called for people “to continue to comply with social distancing and public health guidance”. Pic: Brian Lougheed

Mr O’Callaghan said pubs serving takeaway pints are not to be blamed for those gathering at public spaces.

“Pubs should be allowed to serve takeaway pints just as off licences are allowed to sell cans, and I don’t think closing pubs would make any difference to people who are determined to go drinking. If they don’t get takeaway pints they could just as easily get takeaway cans anyway, so I don’t think that’s contributing to it at all,” he said.

Independent councillor Kenneth O’Flynn said it is “absolutely a disgrace” that hospitality hasn’t reopened in order for people to socialise in controlled environments.

West Cork councillor Danny Collins, who owns The Boston Bar in Bantry, said the youth cannot be blamed for gathering after over 13 months of lockdowns but said there is no control when they meet in large groups.

He said that another issue coming into the summer months is a lack of parking facilities in amenities across West Cork such as Barleycove. He called for more parking spaces at such amenities.

“We have the May bank holiday coming. I fear that if there is an accident on the beach, that emergency services trying to get there, whether it’s an ambulance or the fire brigade, won’t be able to access the beach because people are just dropping their cars,” he said.

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