Kerry County Council to close public car parks and beach for Easter weekend

Kerry County Council to close public car parks and beach for Easter weekend
Last weekend, Gardaí in Kerry began calling door to door to holiday and second homes in west Kerry following complaints about people arriving

Kerry County Council is to close all public car parks at beaches around the county for the Easter weekend, it said.

It follows growing concern by the public and An Garda Siochána travel restrictions were being widely ignored this Easter week and visitors were arriving from Dublin and other parts of the country.

Last weekend, Gardaí in Kerry began calling door to door to holiday and second homes in west Kerry following complaints about numbers of persons with second homes or renting second homes were arriving.

On Wednesday afternoon, the activity increased and following the emergency legislation including hefty fines, permanent road block check points were being installed on approach roads throughout Tralee, Garda Superintendent Dan Keane said.

However in key walking spots like Mangerton Mountain and woodlands at the edge of Killarney National Park, earlier in the day up to 12 cars were parked at one stage, with registrations from Cork, Dublin, Meath and elsewhere.

Other cars with Dublin, Cork and other registration numbers have been arriving all week to walk the area.

Supt Dan Keane, the most senior Garda in Tralee and west Kerry, issued an appeal early this week after Gardai were asked take action in west Kerry last weekend.

“Stop occupying holiday homes in west Kerry and elsewhere. It is not in line with what the Government are trying to do,” Supt Keane said.

"The holiday homes were not to be occupied by owners or short lets."

"Beaches, caravan parks, holiday homes would get checks."

The Gardaí did not want to break up the party, but under the current crisis this is exactly what they were required to do.

"The checkpoints on roads would be widespread and people will be turned back."

“What is happening is a Garda operation with check points mounted all over the county in respect of persons travelling. It is kicking off later today."

Kerry people travelling out will face the same restrictions and will be turned back home, and those occupying holiday homes or second homes would be asked to remain in them.

Kerry has high numbers of second homes - over 8,000 according to the last census.

Concern about arrivals to second homes has been brewing with well over two weeks.

West Kerry Councillor Seamus Cosai Fitzgerald has called for specific guidelines and more Garda resources to deal with the crowded beaches and lack of social distancing.

Meanwhile, council personnel will be present at the car parks to monitor the closures over the weekend and will liaise with An Garda Síochána to ensure compliance, a spokesman said.

The latest restrictions in operation since Friday, March 27 mandate that everyone should stay at home, only leaving to:

  • Shop for essential food and household goods;
  • Attend medical appointments, collect medicine or other health products;
  • Care for children, older people or other vulnerable people - this excludes social family visits;
  • Exercise outdoors - within 2kms of your home and only with members of your own household, keeping 2 metres distance between you and other people
  • Travel to work if you provide an essential service - be sure to practice social distancing

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