Dollymount beach parking row heats up as temperatures soar

Dublin City Council’s decision to ban parking on beach attracts controversy

Cars parked near Dollymount Strand earlier this week. Photograph:   Collins

Cars parked near Dollymount Strand earlier this week. Photograph: Collins

Fri, Jul 25, 2014, 19:28

Dollymount beach is one of Dublin’s jewels and on the hottest day of the year it shimmered under a cloudless sky. By 11am the car park at the front of the long causeway to the beach was full as sun worshippers sought to make the best of the heatwave.

In the past, the long expanse of Dollymount beach was the place where generations of Dubliners learned how to drive and to perform dangerous manoeuvres such as handbrake turns away from crowded city streets and the law.

But the council put a stop to that by erecting large boulders across the beach and now they have gone a step further by banning all access by cars.

The rather improvised barriers at both the causeway and wooden bridge end look temporary, but the council is hoping to make them permanent.

They cite a recent incident where a man reversed his car across a person lying on the beach and emergency vehicles found it difficult to access the accident scene because of the cars parked there.

The request to close the beach to traffic was made by gardaí and Dublin City Council agreed to comply with it.

The decision has provoked anger among some local residents with one Liveline caller named Brian describing it as the “epitomony of absolute bureaucratic bungling”.

He said it had caused “absolute mayhem” on busy days with some families having to walk more than 1km to access the beach at the Causeway Road end because the restrictions were causing traffic to back up.

Local TD Tommy Broughan said he had been approached by some elderly constituents complaining at the decision.

“One man, who was 77, was quite irate about it,” he said, “He felt it was custom and practice in his life down through the years to be able to use it and now he has less mobility, he can’t use it anymore,” he said.

“He liked to drive out on to the beach and listen to the radio or read the newspapers with the door open.”

Mr Broughan has called for the decision to be reviewed by the full council.

A Facebook page has been opened protesting at the decision and it has attracted 273 likes and quite a lot of angry comments.

However, other residents out walking today along the beach felt it was, on balance, the right decision.

Dan Lucey said: “In times past I’ve seen young couples have driven on to the beach and got a little too enthusiastic and forgot about the sea coming in. It should be kept as a family beach.”

Mary Kernan from Griffith Avenue too was supportive saying she had lived abroad and the idea of being able to drive on to a beach would not be allowed.

“Children should be allowed to play safely and not have to worry about traffic,” she said.

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