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Concern over crowds visiting Donegal despite warnings

Large numbers of visitors descended on the Moville-Greencastle coastal walk on Saturday despite Irish government guidelines banning movement beyond 2km from home 
Seamus McKinney

A Co Donegal politician has urged people not to be tempted to break Covid-19 travel restrictions over the Easter weekend.

Labour councillor Martin Farren was speaking after gardaí were forced to step up patrols in Moville and other parts of the Inishowen peninsula following an influx of visitors on Saturday.

Despite the closure of several beaches and people being told to stay at home, huge numbers – including many from the north - descended on a scenic walk from Moville to Greencastle on Saturday afternoon.

There were also reports of large numbers of people enjoying the good weather in Inch Island, Ballyliffin, Clonmany and other popular parts of Inishowen.

In response, Donegal gardai increased their presence around the peninsula on Sunday.

In a post on the Donegal Garda Facebook page, a spokesman said: “Everyone is advised to continue to follow the public health message and stay at home, exercise within 2km only of your home and continue to practice social distancing.”

However, Mr Farren expressed concern that expected fine weather over the Easter weekend could see another influx to popular areas.

The Moville councillor said there were a lot of people around the village on Saturda afternoon.

"I don’t know where they were from; all I know is they were strangers; they weren’t local people," he said.

“It is unfortunate that this has been happening, that some people are ignoring the guidelines to stay within 2km of home.

"It’s not just the Irish government that’s saying people should stay at home, the Northern Ireland government’s saying it as well.”

He praised the quick response by gardaí and said Sunday was much quieter, but expressed concern that guidance would be ignored again this weekend.

“People are worried about the Easter weekend, especially with the weather expected to be good.

"Some people still aren’t getting it. This is about saving lives. People must stay in their own areas."

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