The blocking of access to the beach in Clogherhead has been described as “shameful” and “unacceptable” with growing summer crowds at the popular local hotspot leading to calls for action to be taken against those who park illegally, potentially putting lives in danger.
Despite double yellow lines painted on the roads leading to the entrance to the beach, councillors based in the area say that does not deter visitors from parking their cars along the narrow streets and making their way to the beach. Sinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham raises the issue on a regular basis at both Borough Council and full council meetings. Earlier this year, his request for safety measures to be put in place – as part of the Low Cost Safety Scheme – was granted.
However, that work has not been carried out due to lockdown related delays. “While I am delighted to welcome all visitors to the village and the Strand, they cannot just park where they want,” he said. “At this time of year there is an increase in those using pleasure crafts and using the sea in different ways. Today (Sunday June 12) was no different and it is days like this that the lifeboat is more likely to be called out.”
Cllr Cunningham, pre-lockdown, was hopeful these measures would be in place before the busy summer months. But vehicles continue to park along the narrow streets in the coastal village, making the roads, essentially, one-way. He calls it “unacceptable.”
“The beach entrance was blocked, residents were blocked in and cars abandoned on double yellow lines with some actually parked right on road ends. There was no chance that an ambulance could access anyone along that street today should an emergency have arisen,” he said. “Lifeboat crew are on call, they could be at home or wherever – they are not at the Station – so if there is an emergency, their bleepers go off and they make their way to the Lifeboat Station located at the beach at the bottom of Crooked Street, knowing that speed is of the essence if lives are to be saved.
“Today, with so many illegally parked cars obstructing their path, that time would have been lengthened and the time for the boat to enter the water seriously delayed. People may not be aware when they park here that at the other end of Crooked street is an emergency service and they are blocking access to it but that is no excuse, they are still parking illegally.
“This situation is unacceptable and I will be pressing Louth County Council to get these traffic control measures done sooner rather than later before there is a major incident,” he added.
The issue was raised once again at Louth County Council on Monday when Independent councillor Declan Power criticised the “disregard” shown towards anyone who may require emergency assistance at the Blue Flag beach.
“There is no way anyone can make it down the street. The double yellow lines are not working there. [It is] shameful.” The councillor said the local authority needed to figure out a way of how they can compliment the provision of parking and allowing access for anyone who calls the emergency services.