Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has written to Garda James Cannon and Meath County Council CEO Jackie Maguire following the surge of dangerous anti-social behaviour on Bettystown Beach.
Deputy Munster said:
“Residents and holidaymakers in Bettystown and Laytown are angry that this problem is not being taken more seriously and have called for a greater Garda presence in the area.
“One lady who contacted me said she was playing football on the beach with her three young children at 4.45 one evening last week when a car driven by three or four youths sped through the bollards of the ‘no car zone’, weaving in between children playing football, only narrowly missing one of them in the process.
“ Speeding past the life guard’s hut they brazenly proceeded to do ‘donuts’ further up the strand without any fear of being stopped.
“The beach was packed with families enjoying the sunny weather at the time.
“A female Garda who arrived 25 minutes after being called was hardly in a position to confront this unruly group of lads on her own.
“According to locals this type of behaviour is a regular occurrence on the beach especially in the summer evenings.
“And it’s not only the %
Sinn Féin Councillor Antóin Watters has asked people to take care of the beach and leave it as you find it. This request comes after the councillor received numerous complaints from local people around Templetown Beach as people have flocked to it with the good weather.
Cllr Watters said “No one wants to ruin anyone’s fun in this weather but I’m asking people to respect the beach and clean up after yourself. There has been an increase in the number of BBQ sets and plastic containers left on the beach. You wouldn’t dream of leaving these lying around if your BBQ was in your back garden so why leave them behind somewhere else? We are all aware of the danger of plastic to the seas and oceans.”
Horse fouling on beach
Cllr Watters has also received several complaints about horses on the beach. “There are strict bye-laws regarding horses on blue flag beaches and that includes Templetown Beach. Horses are not allowed on the beach between 10:00 – 18:00 during the summer months according to the Control of Horses Act. The reasons for these bye-laws are obvious, especially if we are enjoying the kind of weather we have had lately. When a beach is busy, as Templetown has been recently, it becomes dangerous to have horses on the beach. These horses are putting people at risk of serious injury, not to mention the fouling that is taking place which isn’t fair on other beach users.”
Take your BBQ and rubbish home with you
The fixed penalty for breach of these bye-laws is €63 and Councillor Watters has been in contact with Council officials and Gardaí this morning. “I have requested additional signage to be erected at Templetown Beach to inform people of the restrictions and asked the Gardaí to be extra vigilant for enforcement. Members of the Public should also notify the Gardaí of any breaches. Let’s keep the beach safe for everyone to enjoy.”
The great weather we had this week culminated in crowds of visitors to the beautiful village of Clogherhead and its blue flag beach on Sunday.
Sinn Féin Cllr Tom Cunningham said “while I am delighted to welcome all visitors to the village and the Strand, I would ask that they be mindful of where they are parking. Sunday was a beautiful day but Clogherhead was like a car park in places where cars had been parked on double yellow lines, across entrances blocking residents and at road ends making it difficult for traffic to flow.”
Cllr Cunningham was concerned that “at this time of year there is an increase in those using pleasure crafts and using the sea in different ways. It is during these times that the lifeboat is more liable to be called out. However, with the beach entrance blocked, where the life boat is stationed as it was today, the crew stood little chance of being able to attend the lifeboat in a timely manner.”
Cllr Cunningham continued “furthermore, an ambulance would not have been able to access the beach nor indeed the surrounding houses should an emergency have arisen.”
Cllr Tom Cunningham who lives in Clogherhead said “I am asking visitors to come and enjoy the delights of our village but please respect the law, the residents, the lifeboat and the emergency services. There is car parking about five minutes walk from the beach situated beside the playground and doctors surgery which was hardly used today at all.”
“I will also be talking to the Council engineers about how we deal with this in the future. This will be challenging as it really only affects a few days of the year but I will be exploring the erection of temporary signage for those days. Let us all enjoy this great weather without any unfortunate incidents.”
Sinn Féin Councillor Tom Cunningham has welcomed the launch of the new Hippocampe Beach Wheelchair at Clogherhead Beach.
Speaking today, Cllr Cunningham, who secured funding for the project, praised Sinn Féin Deputy Imelda Munster who was responsible for bringing the Beach Wheelchair to the County. “The last thing Imelda Munster did before she left Louth County Council to become a TD was to bring forward a motion calling for disabled persons to be able to go to a beach and to enter the sea like their able-bodied counterparts, something most of us take for granted. The motion received unanimous support across the Council and today we have our Beach Wheelchair. I can’t tell you how proud I feel today.”
The Beach Wheelchair will be managed by Celtic Adventures who are based at the beach in Clogherhead.
Cllr Cunningham said “I know County Wexford has one and as far as I am aware, Louth is the second County in the State to have one so we are very lucky. The Chair can be used on land and also in the sea and can accommodate adults and children alike. Can you imagine the freedom it would give a disabled person, young or old, to be able to go into the sea without having to be helped or carried, something they would not have been able to do before. And also the fact that it can go across the sand, parents or carers can now wheel their child across the sand instead of sitting on the sidelines.”
Cllr Cunningham also pointed out that “this can only benefit tourism in Louth as families with someone who is disabled are very limited in their choice if they want to visit a beach. Louth and Clogherhead is only too happy to welcome them.”
The Hippocampe All Terrain Chair
Imelda Munster TD said at the time “there is an onus on local authorities to ensure equal access to services and amenities for every citizen.”
The Beach Wheelchair is available from today at Clogherhead Beach. Celtic Adventures anticipate a demand for its use and have asked that people who are interested in using the chair, which will be free of charge, pre-book to avoid disappointment.
To book the chair please call Dave on 085 875 2767
Sinn Fein TD Imelda Munster has strongly criticised the total lack of commitment, action and enthusiasm from the executive of Louth County Council in pursuing the provision of an all-terrain beach wheelchair at blue flag beaches in Louth. Teachta Munster said “These beach wheelchairs will facilitate people with disabilities to access the beach similar to their peers in society. This is about providing equality of access for people with disabilities and local authorities should be proactive in ensuring it happens”.
Deputy Munster said “it is hard to believe that despite my motion to provide a beach wheelchair being passed unanimously by the council last December, it appears that the County Council have done absolutely nothing in relation to seeking a partner to host the wheelchair since that meeting.
“Louth County Council had an opportunity following the passing of this motion to provide access to the beaches and water in this county for people with disabilities; instead when questioned about progress on the issue the Chief Executive stated ‘Our chief difficulty is having someone available at the beach to deal with checking the chair in and out’ and referred the issue to the Director of Services under whose remit it falls.”
Deputy Munster then questioned the Director of Services as to what groups/entities the council had contacted in relation to hosting and checking the beach wheelchair in and out, asking when they contacted them and what was the response received. “The response was both shameful and shocking” said Deputy Munster. “I was told ‘we (LCC) have made no contact with any organisation in relation to this matter, simply because we were not aware of any appropriate group in the areas concerned’. This response ought to put them to shame. The lack of action or interest in providing a facility that would give people with disabilities an opportunity to access a beach and the water’s edge to give the same enjoyment as everybody else and just as important to have equality of access, is disgraceful”.
Deputy Imelda Munster is now calling on Louth County Council to follow through with an advertisement as an exercise of consultation for expressions of interest from community groups, development groups, lifeboat organisations, disability groups etc on the east coast in Louth who may be able, willing and indeed enthusiastic to host this facility and checking the wheelchair in and out.