herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Swimmers say they've seen no bad behaviour at 'very safe' Forty Foot

Laurie Berry and her son Luca at the Forty Foot in Sandycove
Laurie Berry and her son Luca at the Forty Foot in Sandycove

Dublin swimmers were determined not to be deterred by reports of anti-social behaviour at one of the city's most popular bathing spots as they basked in the warm weather yesterday.

Despite recent calls by Dun Laoghaire TD Richard Boyd Barrett for Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to address anti-social issues at the iconic Forty Foot in Sandycove, people enjoying the amenity told the Herald how safe and friendly they found the area.

Laurie Berry and her son Luca (9) were home visiting Ireland from Italy and said Sandycove beat sandy Italian beaches during the summer.

"We really enjoy the area, it's quite small and with young children you can see them at any point," said Laurie.

"When it's high tide they enjoy jumping off the rocks. My son is nine and he wouldn't be a very strong swimmer so it is perfect."

Esmay Rothschild, who is from Dalkey and is in her 70s, is a regular swimmer at the Forty Foot and was also enjoying the sun with her daughter, Katy Heslip (35), and granddaughter, Lily.

"I come down a good bit, I haven't seen any problems. It's always been quite quiet when I've been here, I always come down for a swim and with my grandchildren," said Esmay.

Katy, however, said she had heard stories about theft in the area during the high temperatures earlier in the summer.

"There have been a few incidents of people rooting in bags, and things have been stolen, it happened to a friend of ours," she said.

Sun

Mother-of-three Emma Kavanagh echoed Katy's reports of phone robberies in the area, saying she tried to avoid bringing her children for a swim there later in the day.

"I'm originally from the area, and there has been some anti-social behaviour over the years," she said.

"Once the sun comes out, the gangs would come down. A friend's daughter had her phone stolen about three weeks ago, and there have been fights even when there are kids around. I always try to get down early and be gone by the time everyone comes down."

Overall, there was a positive atmosphere among the crowds.

Peter Harold (68), from Crumlin, said it was his family's favourite place in Dublin Bay, and suspected anti-social behaviour was a problem on many beaches during good weather.

"We haven't seen any anti-social behaviour," he said.

"We would be out every second Sunday and never came across anything unruly. In fact, it's really beautiful here and we've never come across anyone 'blaggarding' or the likes.

"We love this part of the bay, it's a nice place to go with the family. It is safe but you will of course get that anti-social behaviour everywhere, maybe young lads with drink.

"I'd hate to see it and it's not acceptable, but I've never been intimidated along the bay."

Phil Sheehan, also in her 60s, said she never felt threatened, regularly visiting the coastal attraction for a weekly swim.

"It's a very enjoyable place, and I've never experienced any anti-social behaviour," she said.

"I come down at least once a week to go swimming and have a picnic.

"It's a very safe place, maybe the anti-social behaviour is at night when I'm not here."

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