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The Fine Gael member told the meeting that there was a particular issue at Dromaan Harbour, a small marina, close to Williamstown Harbour.

Carry on camping, as harbour restrictions flouted


AHEAD of the August Bank Holiday weekend, renewed concerns have been voiced about a spike in unauthorised camping and the flouting of bye-laws at a number of waterside amenities in East Clare. 

Local councillors were told that, at one small harbour, signage showing that camping is prohibited had been painted over and blanked out, by those illegally using the car park overnight. 

At the July meeting of the Killaloe Municipal District committee, Councillor Pat Burke highlighted recent issues at waterside facilities at Killaloe, Mountshannon and Dromaan.

“Unfortunately, there is vandalism and anti-social behaviour going on this summer at some of our amenities,” he said. “If you take the toilet block in Mountshannon, there are constant issues every week. I have spoke to Gardaí about this and they are aware of it.”

The Whitegate native also expressed his annoyance at issues involving jetskis in Killaloe and Mountshannon.

“Some people are responsible jetski users, but the majority are not,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of talk about the number of people going on foreign holidays this year, but you can’t take a jetski and it seems that lots of people have discovered this area. I’m not saying that all jetski users flout the law, but a lot of them do.”

The Fine Gael member told the meeting that there was a particular issue at Dromaan Harbour, a small marina, close to Williamstown Harbour.

“There is a sign saying ‘No camping or overnight parking – by order’. The problem is that that order is not being enforced. Over the last two weekends, the harbour has been taken over by people camping, using jetskis and breaking every law under the sun.

“Someone actually came along and painted over the sign. It’s just shocking that someone would just paint over signage. They are completely flouting the law and encouraging others to do the same. Garda resources are stretched and they can’t be patrolling every amenity every day. That’s just not possible.”

Councillor Burke said the tourism benefits at the likes of Dromaan Harbour come from the boating rather than the camping fraternity.

“This is a public harbour for boats and not for camping,” he said. “A lot of older people use the area for boating and they want peace and quiet. I’m not convinced that those coming in and camping are bringing any benefit or using local business and services.”

He added that boost in popularity of quieter locations is down to social media. “One crowd arrives and tells their friends, and the next thing there are drones flying and they’re posting and sending the images,” he said. 

Executive Engineer Declan Flanagan told the meeting that Council staff are out on a regular basis to respond to issues at amenities. “We addressed the damage done in Mountshannon,” he said. “If we can’t identify the perpetrator, that limits the action we can take.”

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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