AN influx of between 300 and 500 people to Schull at the weekend resulted in late night pier parties, a complete disregard for social distancing, and an act of vandalism that saw shrubs pulled up and boulders thrown across a new road.
Incensed locals say that there is always ‘an invasion’ – mostly of young people from the city – during what is typically Calves Week from Thursday to Sunday.
But despite the fact that the event was cancelled this year, due to Covid-19, the crowds still came, only in bigger numbers than ever.
Locals who witnessed the gatherings at the parties on the pier said there was no such thing as social distancing and that the problem was worse than ever due to the fact that the pubs are closed. One woman claimed the problem in Schull was compounded by the fact that the local authority does not have bye-laws preventing the consumption of alcohol in public in Schull.
Another described how hordes of young people arrived into the already busy town without pre-booking any accommodation and ended up sleeping in cars, and even on the streets, possibly due to their high level of intoxication. One woman complained about the noise emanating from the pier parties that went on late into the night and early morning.
Local TD Michael Collins (Ind) said that the locals are ‘sick of this’ behaviour. ‘It’s terrible to see so many young people arriving with boot-loads of booze and treating Schull in such a shabby manner,’ he said. But the incident that provoked the greatest level of outrage is the wanton vandalism at the new road leading to the new Centra car park.
Shop owner Jeremy Brosnan recently installed a new road and greatly improved the parking facilities for his Centra customers and also had it landscaped to a very high standard.
He said that he arrived to work on Saturday morning and found a lot of the shrubs pulled up and boulders thrown across the new road.
He admitted it was ‘extremely disappointing and upsetting to find weeks of hard work had been vandalised overnight’, and he thanked Paul Wood and Anthony O’Regan for helping to get the road cleaned up in time for opening.
Local Supt Declan O’Sullivan confirmed that they are investigating the criminal damage and they are currently examining CCTV in the area and interviewing witnesses.
He said: ‘We had a lot of extra members on duty in the area, as well as extra road policing units and drugs units, too.’
In relation to Covid-19 regulations, he said: ‘We try to engage, explain and encourage about social distancing and personal responsibility, but I can confirm there have been some public order arrests over the last number of weeks.’
He said it was not just young people congregating at the pier who were a problem.