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Drivers outside 5km zone are ‘turned back’

June 6th, 2020 8:00 PM

By Jackie Keogh

Coolmain Beach in Kilbrittain was busy at the weekend.

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A SIGNIFICANT number of motorists were found to be well outside their 5km limit over the June Bank Holiday weekend and were turned back by gardaí.

Clonakilty-based Supt Ger O’Mahony confirmed that checkpoints were in operation in Skibbereen, Dunmanway, Bandon, Kinsale, Schull and Clonakilty over the weekend, as soaring temperatures drew large crowds to beaches.

There were, however, some exceptions including a deserted beach at Barleycove, which would normally be thronged.

The superintendent said the checkpoints moved location from time to time in a bid to cover all bases and to enforce the 2m social distance and the 5km travel guidelines.

‘Checkpoints will be continuing throughout West Cork on a daily basis – not just during bank holiday weekends,’ he added.

He said the level of complaints in West Cork continues to be low, but that gardaí in Skibbereen were recently asked to attend the re-opening of the Farmers’ Market in Skibbereen.

Supt Declan O’Sullivan, who is in charge of the Bantry district, said people have, generally, been ‘compliant.’

‘Gardaí have been called to sporadic house parties that did not involve large numbers of people, but did involve complaints about noise,’ he said.

However, a member of the public contacted The Southern Star to express concern about crowding at Harbour View and Coolmain beaches in the Kilbrittain area, as well as Garrettstown in Ballinspittle.

The person complained that social distancing was not being observed in some situations, particularly amongst a group of about 30 youths at Harbour View.

There were also complaints that the green area around Charles Fort in Kinsale and the pier outside the Bulman Bar were ‘extremely busy’ and that the car parks around these amenities were full.

Bandon-based Supt Brendan Fogarty, who also covers Kinsale, said: ‘We didn’t have any major incidents over the weekend.

The gardaí were involved a few times and had to encourage some people to social distance. We also asked people who were outside their 5km to return home and they did so; and we don’t have any cases at the moment that are being referred for prosecution.’

The car park at at Lough Hyne outside Skibbereen was also described as being packed, with about 30 or more cars there on Monday evening, many of which were described as being ‘not local to the area’.

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