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‘They are playing with people’s lives’: Warning on social distancing issued after large crowds flock to Cork beaches

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AN Garda Síochána are encouraging everyone to observe social distancing with a number of car parks being closed across the country.

Gardaí confirmed that a number of car parks were being closed due to the huge crowds that flocked to beaches and cliff sides today.

Images shared on social media showed large crowds gathering in Youghal with cars parked bumper to bumper along the side of the road.

Independent councillor Mary Linehan-Foley said that she was “horrified” at the scenes being shared on social media and said that people need to start taking social distancing seriously.

“People are trying to get out and they’re not realising the danger of what they’re doing. People have kids I suppose bouncing with energy and they’re thinking ‘look we’ll get out and we’ll try and keep the distance’ but that’s not happening.

She said that the crowds gathering in Youghal, Ardmore and in Ballycotton “have to realise the dangers”.

“They are playing with peoples’ lives,” she said.

A powered parachue hovering over the beach in Youghal , East Cork yesterday, during the current Covid -19 virusPicture: Eddie O'Hare
A powered parachue hovering over the beach in Youghal , East Cork yesterday, during the current Covid -19 virus
Picture: Eddie O’Hare

She said that she would be speaking with the District Officer tomorrow to discuss if there is something that can be done at local authority level but at the moment the directive has to come from the Department of Health and the HSE.

“I was horrified to see the way the cars were parked down in Youghal today. I would be hoping that they would be putting something in place for all public spaces and all public areas within the 24 hours really.

“People are contacting the gardaí which is the right thing to do. I know a local community garda in Ballycotton went out themselves and just started directing the cars out of the place.

“This is a community issue. We need everyone in the community to stick together and do what they’re being asked to do by the government,” she said.

She advised people to stay at home and to adhere to the HSE and government guidelines.

“I did hear Simon Harris saying there was no issue with going out for a walk once you’re social distancing but people aren’t getting the amount of pace you need to be between people. So seriously, stay at home.

“Do it for the frontline workers. Do it for nurses, for doctors, and the people in supermarkets who are trying to keep the food coming and going for us. They’re our real heroes now and they’re the people we should be respecting. If we want to respect them, we should be doing what they are asking us to do, and they’re asking us to stay home basically and it’s not a very hard thing to do.

“There’s going to be no end to this if we don’t do what we’re told,” she said.

The scene at a packed beach in Youghal , East Cork yesterday, as people get out for some fresh air during the current Covid -19 virusPicture: Eddie O'Hare
The scene at a packed beach in Youghal , East Cork yesterday, as people get out for some fresh air during the current Covid -19 virus
Picture: Eddie O’Hare

She said that people have to keep in mind the most vulnerable in this situation.

“The problem here is for our elderly, it’s the vulnerable with underlying issues who are really going to suffer.

“I haven’t seen my grandchildren in over a week, which, like every other mother and grandmother around the place, is the same. I do it out of safety for anyone that I might meet or that they might meet and you’re just trying to do the best you can without it going into a major lockdown scenario.

“Do the best that you can do. Think of your neighbours, think of the people less well off who are in a vulnerable situation, think of the grandparents that we don’t want to put in jeopardy,” she said.

She said that she was surprised at peoples’ actions given the situation in Italy and in China.

“I’m surprised in a sense, because we’re seeing so much about Italy and China and other areas. It’s not like we can’t see what’s happening in other countries so I’m surprised that people are looking at this and saying, ‘God, it’s awful. We’re with Italy and we’re with China’ and yet, they’re not doing what they’re asked to do,” she said.

From EchoLive