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Wednesday, 6th January 2021

Public annoyance at closure of beach car parks

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Cars parked ouside the closed car park at Seapoint this afternoon.

Yesterday’s decision by the local Gardaí and Louth County Council to effectively close the beaches in Termonfeckin and Clogherhead to walkers and joggers by closing the car parks is causing much public annoyance.

For many years people have been walking in the amazing wide-open spaces we are lucky enough to have on our doorsteps and in these awful pandemic times they had become even more important as places to escape the confines of lockdown at home, to get some fresh air and exercise, and just to think.

The announcement came as a result of there being a large crowd at Clogherhead beach over the weekend and on Monday Louth County Council issued the following tweet:

"In consultation with the Gardai the following car parks will be closed from tomorrow. Seapoint Clogherhead and Port beach car parks."

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“We have just walked for an hour on the beach and for the entirety of that hour the closest we came to another human being was about 100 metres. It was cold but the winter sunshine and fresh air were an absolute tonic” said one man as he, his wife and their pet dog returned to their car.

“I know we were over the 5km limit from home (in Drogheda) but I think a bit of common sense has to be applied in this instance” he said. “Breaching the 5km limit to find a space to walk and get some fresh air seems reasonable to me.”

Another man said that he could see the logic of closing the car parks but it was sad to see them empty. “People are of course walking on the beach today (Wednesday) but they are leaving their cars on the roadside instead of in the car park which makes no sense whatsoever.”

Drogheda Life asked both the Gardaí and the Council for a comment. We got no reply from the Council but received the following statement from Garda Superintendent Andrew Watters:

The beaches are not closed. It is the car parks at the three locations that are closed at this juncture.

“The principal reason behind this is to manage the problems that arose last weekend when the car parks and beaches were excessively busy and were subject of numerous complaints from members of the public living nearby and public representatives.

The 5km limit was not being adhered to and concerns were raised about social distancing. People living within the 5km limit can enjoy beaches but are also subject to the COVID Regulations.

“Garda patrols / checkpoints are ongoing but cannot be everywhere to prevent the breach of the 5km travel limit or all potential breaches of social distancing.

“A decision was taken between An Garda Siochana and Louth County Council to close the car parks concerned but not the beaches. Again this was deemed necessary as one of a number of measures to control the COVID Pandemic.

“Both An Garda Siochana and Louth County Council strongly appeal to public to demonstrate personal and social responsibility to adhere to the restrictions in place."

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