Boy-racers have been told to stay home this weekend by gardaí covering the annual Rally of the Lakes in Killarney.
Ambassador for the cartell.ie Rally of the Lakes, celebrating its 40th year, is local man and Hollywood A-list actor Michael Fassbender who will be on hand to meet the public.
The rally along the spectacular Ring of Kerry and Beara peninsula achieves massive international coverage for Killarney and the southwest and is shown in almost 40 countries. However, it has been marred in previous years by late night activity by hundreds of boy-racers.
“The key message is business as usual in Killarney this weekend and we want anyone coming to enjoy themselves. Any boy-racers – we want them to stay away,” head of the traffic division in Kerry Inspector Tony Sugrue said.
Groups of up to 200 racers have previously blocked parts of the N22 for races in souped-up cars. Noise, minor rioting, litter as well as road surface damage have been linked to the late night congregations.
Heavy financial penalties handed out by the courts in 2016 have led to a reduction in incidents, although not an elimination.
“The ultimate aim is to be a boy-racer-free zone for the rally,” Inspector Sugrue said, adding that the term boy-racer included female drivers.
Gardaí this year will be assisted by the traffic corps, including bike and car units and six dog units.
Killarney Sgt Dermot O Connell said there will be numerous checkpoints set up over the weekend as well as increased high visibility patrols in the Killarney area.
“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. If you intend on having a drink, park up the car for the evening and remember that they may still be over the limit the morning after a night out,” he said.
An estimated 60,0000 people will flock to the Killarney area this weekend, Sgt O’Connell said.
Mr Fasssbender is expected to take part in a forum on driving which is being hosted by the rally organisers and will be on hand to meet the public for the ceremonial start on Friday night.
He has spent the last few days visiting local schools, including his old alma mater Fossa NS and St Brendan’s College, Killarney.
Regarded as the jewel in the crown of Irish Rallying, the 2019 event, will have the most difficult routes in the rally’s 40-year history along the dramatic Moll’s Gap on the Ring of Kerry and the Healy Pass on the Beara Peninsula.
* Full details of road closures and stages are available at docstore.kerrycoco.ie/KCCWebsite/roads/closures/lakesrally.pdf