THERE are fears that the West Cork locations mentioned in the two recent TV series on the death of the French film producer Sophie Toscan du Plantier will result in the areas becoming a magnet for grisly ‘murder tourism’.
The concerns were amplified this week when it was revealed that, among other tourists, a group of women from Dublin had turned a trip to the region into a ‘murder mystery weekend’.
Senator Tim Lombard said he was so horrified to see the Twitter posts by the group of women that he felt obliged to speak out and appealed to tourists to be respectful of the memory of Sophie, her son who frequents the holiday home at Toormore, and her grieving parents in Paris.
The Fine Gael senator acknowledged that, with the two documentaries released in the last six weeks, there has been renewed interest in the case.
But he was horrified to see a murder mystery group set up on WhatsApp as the members travelled to West Cork to literally walk the last steps of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.
‘They put all the research on the group,’ said Senator Lombard, who could barely contain his anger when he spoke to The Southern Star. ‘And they went through her last moments. They went out to Three Castle Head, down to the bridge, and then they went to the house itself and took selfies at the Celtic Cross, the place that marks where Sophie was murdered, and posted them on Twitter last Thursday.’
Since speaking out, Senator Lombard said he has been contacted by several local people in Schull who applauded him for highlighting the issue, because they are also disgusted by ghoulish tourists.
The senator said he was alerted to the post by a colleague in Dublin and was utterly dumbfounded by what he saw. The Twitter posts have since been deleted.
In the interests of dissuading others from doing something similar, Senator Lombard appealed to people’s ‘inner good’, adding they must remember there is a grieving family in all of this, who are still looking for answers.
‘People have lost the run of themselves,’ he added. ‘There is an obligation on all of us to ensure we maintain a duty of care – not just for the family, but for the local community too.
‘When you look at what West Cork has to offer, and when you consider what is being done by tourists, it is deplorable. This is not what we are advertising,’ he said.
Sen Lombard acknowledged that people are not breaking any law, but he asked them to ‘have a bit of cop on’.