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Locals in fear as walkers break 5km limit guideline

January 9th, 2021 11:40 PM

By Kieran O'Mahony

The beach at Fountainstown was busy with cars and visitors at the weekend. (Photo: David Creedon/ Anzenberger)

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THE numbers of people breaking the 5km rule to walk in scenic areas in the current lockdown has angered and worried local residents.

In the Crosshaven area, one resident suggested the army should be brought in to prevent people breaking the 5km travel restriction and visiting their area.

With a massive rise in the numbers of Covid-19 cases across the region, many are concerned that people are ignoring the  government guideline to exercise within their own 5km area.

Speaking to The Southern Star, Cllr Audrey Buckley (FF) said Crosshaven and surrounding areas were ‘really busy’ last weekend. In particular Fountainstown and Myrtleville saw large numbers visiting the beaches and Cllr Buckley said she had been ‘inundated’ with calls and texts from worried locals.

‘It was busy again on Monday and one local wanted me to get the army in. Many of the residents are elderly and they are very angry because they want to go out and walk, but they don’t feel safe now,’ said Cllr Buckley.

‘Graball Bay, which is normally quiet at this time of the year, was mobbed on Saturday and Sunday when I went down there,’ she added.

Cllr Buckley said she got Cork County Council to close the car park at Fountainstown beach last Saturday because she was fielding so many calls from locals about it.

‘It has re-opened now, though, because Cork County Council said there hasn’t been a directive from the government to close beach car parks. Residents are again angry with this. The numbers are high here and we also want to protect people coming here as well as protecting ourselves.’

Cllr Buckley said that ‘common sense has to prevail’ when people are dying and businesses are closing down and it’s not an easy time for anyone.

‘I am writing to the Taoiseach’s office to find out if this directive is coming for all seaside areas. I feel like we are being held prisoners in our own homes as people are afraid to go out.

‘There has to be proper enforcement if this directive is issued and at the moment it’s a grey area. It’s also unfair on us having to put up with these large crowds and how would they like it if we went walking outside the front of their houses?’ she wondered.

There were also reports of crowds flocking beyond their 5km limit to well known walking spots like Lough Hyne, Drimoleague, Dunmanway and Mizen Head, which also worried locals wishing to safely walk near their own homes.

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