Disabled users to access beach despite car ban
aCCESS to Dollymount Strand will be made available to disabled people and regular clubs after a permanent parking ban at the beach was put in place.
A temporary ban to stop cars driving and parking on the popular Dublin beach for health and safety reasons had been in place since last June, but it has since been made permanent.
Those most affected by the ban are elderly and disabled swimmers, some who use the beach 365 days a year, said Lord Mayor Christy Burke.
In an attempt to address the issue, Mr Burke contacted Dublin City Council's (DCC) Chief Executive office and was told that those most-affected would be facilitated.
"We will of course facilitate clubs and organisations who have been constant users of the beach and in particular disabled persons," stated a representative from the CEO's office.
"I will get our Parks people to contact them and make the necessary arrangements."
Mr Burke said that while he was in support of the ban in general, it was very important that the swimmers be given access to the beach for both social and health reasons.
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.
In a statement, DCC confirmed that the ban came about because of an accident.
"Recently there was an incident on the beach where a car which was stuck in the sand led to a woman being injured," read the statement.
"Due to the haphazard nature of parking, emergency vehicles had difficulty attending to the incident. For this reason and following strong advice from the Gardai, management in the Parks Service made a decision to cease vehicular access to Dollymount Beach," it continued.
DCC also stated that there is a distance of 50 metres from a set-down area to the beach for disabled and elderly people planning to swim.
"If there are individuals or groups who are incapacitated and cannot traverse the 50 metre distance from the roundabout to the beach, City Council Parks Service staff who manage the wildlife conservation, lifeguarding and beach maintenance will meet with them to see how their requirements can be accommodated," stated the council.
The council also admitted that some of the beach's regular users will be "inconvenienced," by the ban.
But they said that safety was the main reason behind its implementation. It then stated that while the situation will be monitored it is considered best practice to keep the beach vehicle-free.
A motion is to be brought before Dublin City Council on the parking ban this week.
Local councillor Damien Farrell earlier told the Herald that a total ban on vehicles would hit the elderly and people with mobility problems hardest.
"Elderly or disabled people will never see the sea at Dollymount unless something is done now to improve their access to the beach," he said.
Mr Farrell added that he was disappointed by the decision because the matter was due to be discussed at next month's meeting of the North Central Area Committee.
Until last June, Dollymount strand was the only beach that Dubliners could drive on to.