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Stink over a lack of beach toilets but mixed reaction to camper van visitors

June 14th, 2023 11:45 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Stink over a lack of beach toilets but mixed reaction to camper van visitors Image
A campervan on the way to Crookhaven. The vehicles got a mixed reception from Cork’s councillors but they were united in wanting better standards for beach toilets like the ones in Tragumna. (Main photo: Shutterstock)

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‘WE want to see them coming but we want proper parking for them,’ was Cllr Karen Coakley’s take on camper vans.

The Independent councillor raised the issue at a meeting of the western divisional meeting of Cork County Council.

She raised the issue while talking about the need for proper toilet facilities at Tragumna, as well as the cleaning of rubbish, and she said the beach had problems with all three on a recent weekend.

Senior executive officer, MacDara O h-Icí, said the Council had previously upgraded the car park at Tragumna with a view to providing a maximum number of car parking spaces.

However, he said the Council could go back to the drawing board and see what is possible in terms of providing larger spaces for camper vans.

He also said that the Council has employed a person to clean the toilet facilities at Tragumna during the bathing season, but they were open ahead of schedule because the locks had been broken.

According to Cllr Coakley, the toilets there are ‘an absolute disgrace’. She added: ‘I believe the disabled toilet is the only one that was working at the weekend and that was dirty.’

As for the camper vans, she said: ‘When they come to West Cork, they spend money, so we want to see them coming but can we have designated areas, because they are taking up parking spaces at Tragumna?’

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) also called for the reinstatement of toilet facilities at Long Strand. What was once a public convenience is now used for storage by Uisce Éireann, he was told.

He said: ‘Some of the residents have told me that people are knocking on their doors and asking if they can use the toilets in their homes. 

‘We really do need to step up and provide proper facilities,’ he added.

Cllr Kevin Murphy (FG) was less kind about camper vans. He said: ‘They are taking up the whole show at Garrettstown and Garrylucas. They take control of the seaside,’ he said. ‘We must do something to ensure they don’t take over the whole scene because that is not fair to the public.’

Environment director Louis Duffy said the cleaning of rubbish on the beaches is a matter for the relevant municipal districts.

MacDara O h-Icí said it would require a budget allocation and that the work is done when there is a need.

‘Generally,’ he said, ‘the public are better now than they were five or six years ago. People are aware of their responsibility and are taking their waste home.’

‘Ideally, people would leave no trace but this is a problem,’ said Cllr Coakley who asked the Council to consider installing CCTV at West Cork’s beaches, but the environment director said the local authority had no right until GDPR issues are dealt with.

Cllr Murphy called for ‘a policy for beaches’ and it was agreed that they would discuss it at their next special policy committee meeting.

Meanwhile, Cllr Gillian Coughlan (FF) said the Council should consider drafting by-laws to create mobile beach wardens that would be employed seven days a week during the summer.

‘Our beaches are very popular and busy, but they need to be respected and they need to be monitored,’ she said.

Cork County Council should consider beach bylaws including the employment and deployment of beach wardens for the summer months, she said.

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