Gardai stay cool as beach hots up

by Gazette Reporter

AS THOUSANDS of beachgoers descended on Portmarnock last week when temperatures reached the high 20s, Cllr Brian McDonagh (Lab) entreated visitors of the area to enjoy themselves without spoiling things for others.
He said: “I would ask visitors to please clean up their rubbish. I would ask young people to ‘self-police’ and to take responsibility not just their own behaviour, but for that of their friends to make the beach a safe and happy place for all.
“I would also ask parents to make sure that their sons and daughters understand their responsibilities to others and that they don’t get caught up in large groups, causing problems.”
He went on to give credit to both Fingal County Council and to the Gardai for their response to the large crowds in Portmarnock on Wednesday, June 18, when according to unofficial Garda estimates, there were 8,000 to 10,000 people on the beach.
Unfortunately, litter is a huge problem, with the council removing more than 200 bags of refuse from the beach the following morning.
Cllr McDonagh said: “With such large crowds, some litter problems are inevitable. What is inexcusable is the number of people who make absolutely no attempt to remove their own rubbish, at least to a point where collection by the council will be easier.
“With such large crowds, [and] particularly of young people, there is unfortunately a concern with problems of anti-social behaviour. While there were still some problems, things have definitely improved and the vast majority of people are well behaved.
“I would hope that gardai would continue to take strong action to prevent intimidation and bullying on the beach. With 10 to 12 gardai on the beach, there was very little drinking.”
However, one problem that arose was that of too many people trying to crowd on the same bus. There was insufficient capacity for buses, leading to large numbers crowding them and causing potentially dangerous situations.
Cllr McDonagh said: “In the 1970s and 1980s, CIE used to put on additional buses at short notice on sunny days to cope with the additional demand.
“I will be asking both Dublin Bus and [Minister for Transport Leo] Varadkar to examine how we can help alleviate the problem for gardai by providing more buses.”
Echoing his praise about local policing, Cllr Keith Redmond (FG) commended the gardai, saying: “They’ve been very proactive. They’ve effectively introduced a preventative programme to ensure that we didn’t see scenes like we saw a few weeks ago in Howth, or the scenes in Portmarnock a few years ago recurring.
“The gardai have been very good in their management of the situation. We had thousands of people on the beaches, and everyone enjoyed themselves.
“When it comes to anti-social behaviour, I think we’re getting a handle on it. A lot of credit goes to the gardai, and also the local authorities working hand-in-hand with them.”
He also raised the issue of litter, saying: “We picked up more than 320 bags of litter from the beaches of Howth, Sutton, Portmarnock and Malahide as a result of the revelries.
“It’s a little bit disappointing that people don’t seem to be getting the message that they shouldn’t be littering the beaches in that way.”
The Portmarnock Community Association and the beach committee conduct volunteer a beach clean in Portmarnock every second Saturday. Those interested in taking part can see www.Portmarnock.org.

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