Council closes some carparks to reduce large gatherings

Council closes some carparks to reduce large gatherings


The scene at Lahinch on Sunday – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

Clare County Council has closed the carpark in Lahinch where hundreds of people gathered last Sunday and failed to adhere to social distancing advice.

Gardaí were forced to restrict vehicular access to the carpark at the prom in the popular resort town for a time on Sunday afternoon after concerns were raised with the local authority about the safety of those there.

The carpark was full for most of the day with throngs of people walking the popular promenade and beach without observing the government and medical expert advice on social distancing.

The council had erected electronic signage in both Lahinch and Kilkee following reports of large numbers of people gathering in close proximity to each other at various locations across the county in the previous days.

Significant crowds also congregated at other beach and seaside areas around the county as well as at popular sites in the Burren National Park resulting in much anger on social media platforms with many calling for a full nationwide lockdown.

The scene at Lahinch on Sunday last – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020

Yesterday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar outlined stringent new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Leo Varadkar said gatherings outside should be of no more than four people.

It’s now hoped that the closure of a number of local authority carparks in Clare will deter large numbers of people gathering at these locations again. People can continue to walk the prom and beach at Lahinch and other places but are urged to observe social distancing advice.

In Kilkee, where large crowds also gathered last week, the council will close carparks at the Diamond Rocks, George’s Head and East End from tomorrow.

The move by Clare County Council is one decided upon locally and has not been made following any government instruction or intervention.

The council has confirmed: “Local authority managed car-parking facilities at amenity sites, including beaches and public parks, have been closed to the public until further notice in an effort to reduce large gatherings at such locations.”

This evening, the carpark at Lahinch, was empty in stark contrast to last Sunday when Gardaí were requested to step in restrict access for a time.

The carpark at Lahinch was locked this evening – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2020