Major concerns were sparked at Crosstown cemetery last week after a crowd of between 250 and 300 mourners arrived at a funeral taking place there.
Current Level 5 Covid guidelines limit attendances at funerals to 10, however, a steady stream of people began to arrive from early morning to attend the funeral which took place on Tuesday afternoon, the deceased having passed away as a result of Covid-19.
The hearse travelled down from Enniscorthy, currently one of the worst hit areas for Covid in Ireland, before the coffin was transferred into a horse-drawn carriage for the final stretch to the graveyard. Both of the cemetery's car parks were said to be full of cars, with a number of cars also parked out on the road and it is believed that family members may have travelled from outside of the county to attend.
An eyewitness said that a garda car accompanied the funeral from Enniscorthy and there was a small garda presence outside the graveyard to keep traffic flowing and ensure pedestrians were safe etc. A garda source also indicated that an incident of criminal damage was also being investigated after the doors of the toilets at the cemetery (locked due to Covid-19), were kicked in.
'There must have been nearly 300 people there,' the eyewitness said. 'Half of the people had masks on, but the other half didn't. They were bunched up really tight and carried the coffin around the graveyard before they got to the grave. It was really unsafe. It was just mayhem.'
Another eyewitness voiced concerns at seeing English car registrations among those pulled into the car park as the mourners congregated at the graveyard for a number of hours.
Last Monday, Gardaí in Gorey also had to intervene after more than 50 people turned up at the funeral home.
This comes little more than a month after Wexford saw a significant spike in Covid cases stemming from an outbreak at a funeral in Ramsgrange, which was described as a 'super-spreader' event.
However, Sgt Stephen Ennis of Gorey Garda Station was satisfied that no breach took place at the funeral home in the North Wexford town.
'We walked down from the station and we explained the four E's - Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce - and they complied with them. The people present, who were family members, all stayed within their own groups and pods.
'They were wearing face masks and all spaced out, and they had all gone from there at 5.40 p.m. and no large crowd attended the removal after this'.
Gardai were then called to the scene of a large gathering of people at a house in Enniscorthy connected to the funeral, at a time when the area had the second highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in the country.
A spokesperson for the gardai confirmed to this newspaper that a report was received from a member of the public at about 8 p.m. that night.
The incident occurred in the Templeshannon area of the town and involved a large number of people from the Travelling community who had gathered at a house in respect of the funeral that was taking place.
There were unconfirmed reports that as many as 200 people were gathered at the house.
However, the garda spokesperson did confirm that 'a large number of people' were present at the scene.
He also confirmed that a file against the owner of the property was being prepared for the DPP.
'We received a report of a large gathering of people at a house,' said the garda.
The spokesperson said the incident occurred following a funeral wake that took place earlier in the day in Gorey and preceding a burial the next day in Crosstown Cemetery.
While acknowledging his difficult it is for people in the community who experience the death of a loved on the spokesperson reiterated how important it is for everyone in the community to adhere to all health and safety guidelines.
He said people have to remain vigilant and not leave their home unless for an essential journey or to get exercise within 5km of their home.
'People can't just wander out and about,' said the garda.
He also expressed sympathy towards anyone suffering a bereavement at the moment but emphasised that funerals cannot be attended by large amounts of people; at present only 10 people are allowed attend a funeral.
The garda also commented that FCPS [fines] are being handed out at checkpoints to people who are away from home without a valid reason.
'It's not being done to just fine people,' he said.
'It's being done to try and stop the spread of it, which affects everyone,' he added.
'It's in everyone's interests to get it right.'
Cllr George Lawlor was incensed by what he regarded a 'blatant disregard for public health'. following Tuesday's burial in Crosstown.
'This is an unbelievable occurrence,' he said. 'Given what this county has and is going through as a result of Covid. We've already witnessed the outcomes of gathering irresponsibly at funerals. It's unbelievable and unacceptable and unlawful for something like this to happen. I don't understand how these people were allowed to breach the 10 person limit or the 5km restriction. It's shocking, reckless and careless...all the things you don't want to see happen in the community.'
'We've suffered enough as a result of Covid. I know of colleagues who are on ventilators in hospital at the moment. It's time our authorities step up to the plate and take action on this. The bottom line is that we don't know the impact that something like this will have on our hospital and on our community. It's a total disregard for anybody else in the community. It's ignorance and stupidity.'