Hundreds of people enjoying a day out at Bettystown Beach recently and not a car in sight. Photo: Dave Stanley.
The Environment Special Policy Committee of Meath County Council has today decided to retain the current prohibition on cars on the beaches of Mornington, Bettystown, Laytown and Gormanston.
The beaches in Meath were closed to vehicles in March of this year after huge crowds gathered there during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Welcoming the decision Local Fine Gael Councillor Sharon Tolan, a long-time opponent of cars being allowed on the beaches, said that they were closed on the advice from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, Local Authorities took swift action to ensure this would not happen again” she said.
“The beaches in Meath have now been closed to vehicles for more than three months, and there has been a massive public outcry to retain the prohibition of cars for good” she added.
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“Meath County Council confirmed at the Environment SPC that they had received a very large volume of emails from the public asking that the beach remain car free.
“Two online petitions resulted in over 4,500 members of the public support the ban on cars, while just 383 people supported a return for drivers to the Meath beaches.”
The Environment SPC today agreed to extend the ban on vehicles and to review the matter at their next meeting in September.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Tolan said: “This is a really great day for the people of Meath, but especially the people of East Meath, who have traditionally avoided the local beaches during the busy summer period because of traffic volumes and litter.
“Nobody should have to negotiate traffic on a beach. This decision will ensure that families, elderly and those with disabilities can visit the beach in a much safer manner.
“Of course, we have parking issues, the same parking issues that seaside towns and villages everywhere have, and I remain committed to finding solutions for those.
“We now have use of the Colaiste na hInse car park, and I would like to thank the local Principal Anne Marie McCarrick, and indeed the CE of LMETB Martin O’Brien for their support and enthusiasm in offering their facilities as a solution for the community.
“We still have a way to go but I am confident that with the right signage and further solutions that we can ensure we never again see another car on the beaches of Meath.”
The Beach Management Committee are of course delighted with today’s decision. Their recent beach clean on June 7 attracted record numbers of volunteers to help tidy up after crowds had left large volumes of litter behind them. The next beach clean will take place on Saturday July 11 at 10.30 am.
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