Kite surfers now snubbing beach over ban on cars
A DECISION to ban cars from Dollymount Strand has had a significant impact on the number of kite surfers taking advantage of the area.
The Irish Kite Surfing Association (IKSA) has said it wants to work with Dublin City Council to ensure that the continued use of the strand remains safe.
But the organisation's secretary, Nicola Murphy, told the Herald that the decision to close the strand to cars has impacted on the number of kite surfers who use the facilities.
Kite surfing, which is a growing sport in Ireland, was specifically referenced by the council when asked it was asked why a decision was taken to close the area to cars.
It said that the increasing number of people sea bathing, the success of kite surfing and other recreational activities has created pressures with regard to maintenance, public order and public safety.
Ms Murphy said that the IKSA had come to an agreement with the council in 2009 for designated launch and landing areas but it had not been informed prior to the decision to close the area to cars.
"We had a meeting with Dublin City Council four or five weeks ago, not long after the decision was made. The IKSA wants to fully co-operate with the council," she said.
She said that usually upwards of 60 kite surfers would visit the strand on a good weekend day.
But these figures have begun to fall. Ms Murphy said that carrying heavy equipment to the strand and the danger of cars being broken into while not in sight were all factors.
"The line of cars goes up to the wooden bridge and causes disruption," she said.
A number of public representatives have spoken out against the ban.
Fine Gael Cllr Naoise O Muiri told the Herald there has been no consultation with councillors or the public about permanent banning of all cars from driving onto the vast 5km beach.
"The council report indicates a long-term ban of all vehicles - but there's been no consultation," he said.
A council statement referred to a recent incident where a car stuck in the sand led to a woman being injured.
Due to the "haphazard nature of parking, emergency vehicles had difficulty attending to the incident".
The report said that for this reason and following strong advice from the gardai, management in the Parks Service made the decision.