'Kerry will still be there when this passes' - Mayor warns holidaymakers to stay away from Kingdom

There is growing concern that huge numbers were in situ before the latest legislation to restrict movement to second homes and other accommodation
'Kerry will still be there when this passes' - Mayor warns holidaymakers to stay away from Kingdom
An aerial view of Killarney

The mayor of Killarney today reiterated his appeal to stay away from the tourist town.

There is growing concern that huge numbers were in situ before the latest legislation to restrict movement to second homes and other accommodation, and that the direct appeals to visitors has come too late to halt the traditional high Easter influx to Kerry.

Gardaí began mounting checkpoints on Wednesday on foot of extra powers and the council in Kerry began a publicity campaign.

However, supermarkets and car parks in Killarney, as well as scenic spots are experiencing numbers of visitors and non-Kerry registered cars.

Cllr Michael Gleeson, Mayor of Killarney, on Wednesday directly appealed to people to please not visit Kerry.

“Kerry will still be there when the pandemic passes and you will be most welcome then, but not until then,” Cllr Gleeson said.

Amid concern locally that action might have been taken sooner to ward off visitors, Cllr Gleeson said every effort was being made by the council to discourage people from arriving – and if the appeals had been put out too early, it would have had little impact, he felt.

Anxiety about an influx of visitors to second homes and holiday lets in south and west Kerry has been building for over a fortnight in the most scenic parts of Kerry. Gardaí knocked on doors in the Dingle area a week ago, following complaints.

Kerry has over 8,000 second or holiday homes and hundreds of caravans and mobile homes, as well as other accommodation. All hotels are closed, Irish Hotels Federation spokesman Padraig McGillicuddy said.

Killarney councillor Donal Grady said the reality was “droves of people” have arrived into Airbnb accommodation in Killarney and this had been taking place “with at least 10 days.”

He had approached both Minister for Tourism and Kerry TD Brendan Griffin and the gardaí to stress the urgency of the matter and the risk to the community almost two weeks ago.

The extra powers with the new legislation was "too late" in coming, he said.

Meanwhile, the spokesman for Kerry County Council which also on Wednesday directly appealed to visitors to stay away said the council was not responsible for holiday homeowners turning up in parts of Kerry.

The council has no role in how national guidelines are enforced, spokesman Owen O’Shea said.

The travel restrictions had been well publicised and it is “absolutely ridiculous” to suggest a direct appeal to visitors might have been issued sooner, he stressed.

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