Tuesday 21 October 2014

Showdown over car barriers at Dublin beach

By Laura Larkin

Published 28/07/2014 | 19:19

Shut: The temporary barriers at Dollymount and John Marshall (top) and Neill Collins

A bid to remove the temporary barriers in place at Dollymount strand will be tabled at a meeting of Dublin City Council in the coming weeks.

The snap decision to close the beach to traffic is understood to have come at the request of gardai, who expressed safety concerns when an ambulance couldn’t reach a woman who had sustained a minor leg injury while sunbathing there.

Until last month, Dollymount strand was the only beach that Dubliners could drive onto and many locals were furious at the changes made this summer.

Compromise

A campaign spearheaded by Clontarf residents to have the barriers removed prompted calls for the changes to be reversed — or to at least find a compromise at the famous strand. 

There are concerns that elderly people and wheelchair-users will be excluded from using the beach if the new restrictions are kept.

Many were present on the Bull Island beach yesterday to voice their views on the obstacles.

Neill Collins, who walks the beach in the evenings, said that the council must develop a proper car park if they want to make the barriers permanent.

“It was always nice to be able to drive on to the beach, but there was a problem with joyriders so that will be stopped,” he said.

Another Dollymount user, John Marshall, thinks that a compromise could be found.

“It won’t make too much difference, but for older people or families with young children it will be a nuisance,” he told the Herald.

“Drivers should be allowed to drive at least as far as the beach, but maybe not on it,” he added.

The row around the barriers was spurred on by the fact that there was no consultation process.

Councillor Damian O’Farrell said the issue needs to be thought out better.

“It might work better with the cars banned but there is a lack of parking there and it needs to be accessible to everyone.”

Dollymount is known as a popular spot for thrill-seeking drivers who use the expanse of the beach for driving stunts.

Cars getting stuck in the sand is also a familiar problem.

The council said that a culmination of events that each raised safety concerns led to the new parking restrictions.

Barriers have been in place at both entrances to the beach since June 19.

hnews@herald.ie

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