Slieve Bloom mountain car parks shut as Gardaí urge walkers to avoid busy spots

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Slieve Bloom mountain car parks shut as Gardaí urge walkers to avoid busy spots

Gardaí close roads to Slieve Blooms

Laois Offaly Gardaí have told people to avoid popular walking spots during Covid-19 including the Slieve Bloom Mountains.

Carparks across the Slieve Bloom mountains were closed on Sunday March 22 by Gardaí after crowds of visitors caused concern for the lack of Covid-19 social distancing.

Glenbarrow waterfall and other beauty spots were closed off by the Gardaí and Laois County Council on Mothers Day.

While there is no ban on going outside in Ireland, the public is warned not to stand closer than 2 metres to anyone.

Laois County Council has also asked people to avoid busy amenities.

"Laois County Council would like to request the public to avoid public amenities and public walkways in large numbers. It is vital at this time that we all strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines.".

On Sunday council staff and the Gardaí diverted traffic on the approach roads to the mountains.

"The car parks in Glenbarrow, Slieve Bloom Mountains are now closed until further notice due to #SocialDistancing concerns. Gardaí and Laois County Council staff are currently on approach roads diverting traffic. This is happening throughout locations in the Slieve Bloom and people need think about what they are doing.

The Gardaí urged people to avoid locations that may attract large crowds on the day.

"Please practice Social Distancing if you are out and about today and avoid locations that may attract large crowds. Social Distancing is the only community response to limiting the spread of #COVID19."

Within hours as roads became busier, the restriction was raised to a request that people stay away from all parks and amenities in Laois and Offaly.

"We are urging people to avoid coming to the Slieve Bloom Mountains and all our other beautiful parks and amenities in Laois and Offaly for exercise and social gatherings. Large volumes of traffic are creating serious traffic congestion on small rural roads.

"We are going through an exceptional event and with all the advice being given out about social distancing we are seeing far to many people parking closely, alighting from cars and chatting without any thought of the health advice given," they said.

"Our members are continuing to offer Community Support to older and vulnerable people in Laois and Offaly along with other statutory and voluntary groups. However all of this work has to parked up to manage traffic, close car parks and ensure people leave these locations safely," they said.

"We would love to see you all again in Laois and Offaly when we get through the current situation but for now please stay away for today," the Gardaí said.