Anger as social distancing ignored on Kilkee beach

Anger as social distancing ignored on Kilkee beach

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Anger has been expressed that a group of people gathered on a Co Clare beach and held a barbecue without adhering to potentially life-saving social distancing advice. 

One the same day that 126 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in the country a group of people held a barbecue on the beach in Kilkee in West Clare today.

As many as ten people, including children, were observed holding a barbecue this afternoon while smaller groups could be seen walking along the beach.

Several other groups of young people were also seen sitting on benches leaving locals shocked that this was happening in their town.

According to locals, as many as fifty holiday homes in Kilkee are currently occupied with people travelling to the area from all over the country.

Local Fianna Fáil councillor Cillian Murphy said: “We have a small community here. Because we know each other we are being mindful of each other. We know each other’s personal circumstances and we know who in our community is immuno-compromised or otherwise vulnerable. We are making sure that we are taking care of them and ourselves.”

“But, there are people, who would be very welcome here under normal circumstances, who think it’s ok in the current climate to go a resort like Kilkee as if nothing was happening. If there is a case of coronavirus in Kilkee now, how do we carry out the contact tracing? Where do we find them? The safest thing is for people to stay in their own local area and we are doing the same,” Cllr Murphy said.

“We would say to people, please don’t come here for the minute. It’s safer for us and safer for them if they stay away so if a case of the virus does arise, it will make contact tracing easier. People have to heed the advice of the experts and realise this is very serious,” he added.

Large numbers of people have also been gathering at Lahinch in recent days. This evening, Clare County Council confirmed that they had erected signage reminding people about the importance of social distancing. Similar signage is expected to be installed in Kilkee in the coming days.

Signage at Lahinch to remind public about social distancing

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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