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Permanent car ban brought in at Dollymount

A permanent ban on cars driving on to Dollymount Strand will badly affect disabled and elderly people, it was claimed today.

A temporary ban on vehicles on the popular beach was imposed in June, but it will now be made permanent.

Local councillor Damien Farrell said a total ban on vehicles would hit hardest the elderly and people with mobility problems.

"Elderly or disabled people will never see the sea at Dollymount unless something is done now to improve their access to the beach," he told the Herald.

"I'm disappointed by the council's decision because the matter was supposed to be discussed at next month's meeting of the North Central Area Committee," said the Independent representative who lives in Marino.

"I think a permanent ban will be broadly welcomed, but a lot more must be done by Dublin City Council to improve access for the disabled to the beach. There is currently disabled parking at the beach, but it is still not adequate for them to use the place without difficulty.

"In principle I've no problem with the ban, but much more must be done for those people who aren't able-bodied."

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

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

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.

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

The council said: "Following strong advice from the gardai, management in the Parks Service made a decision to end vehicular access to Dollymount beach.

"The decision is being monitored.

"However, it is considered that keeping the beach free of motor vehicles is in accordance with best practice and is beneficial in the long-term for public safety, for improving maintenance, for the enjoyment of beach-goers and for achieving the nature conservation objective which define the island."