Mayor of Killarney Cllr Brendan Cronin has called for an urgent meeting with the Gardai, Council and the Chamber of Commerce following the weekend’s incidents on Main St and College St.
One video, which showed two men on top of a defibrillator phone box with a large crowd closely gathered together singing along, breaching current social distancing health regulations, was met with huge criticism and disgust nationally after it was viewed over 300k times across a variety of social media platforms.
A second video showed a large number of youths involved in a fight on College St.
A third incident occurred on the Muckross Road which resulted in the death of a young male from Doneraile in North Cork is currently being investigated by Gardai.
Speaking about the Main St and College St incidents, Mayor Cronin is calling on An Gardai Siochana to step up their efforts to ensure that a similar large gathering like this does not happen again.
“I wish to condemn the disgraceful behaviour which was observed on social media from that took place in Main Street, Killarney,” he said.
“As a collective group, we have all done tremendous work to ensure that the number of new cases remains as low as possible in our town and county by putting restrictions before personal preferences. Business owners and staff have gone above and beyond to protect customers and visitors to Killarney. There efforts should be recognised, not hampered by this behaviour. In a time when we cannot go to watch a football match, when weddings are being postponed along with other family occasions being put on hold, the behaviour seen in our was nothing short of showing two fingers to all those who have put in huge time and effort to make Killarney safe.”
He added that he wishes to sympathise with Killarney First Responders voluntary group for the disrespect shown to the community defibrillator located on Main Street.
“Those that decided to use the defibrillator box as their ‘stage’ need to publicly apologise for this lack of respect shown.”
Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce also released a statement saying that they are very disappointed and upset by the antics.
“An overwhelming majority of people in Killarney and businesses in the town have adhered to public health guidelines and restrictions introduced by the Government and Health Service Executive during the course of the pandemic,” Paul Sherry, President of the Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce, said in a statement.
“It is disappointing that some people see fit to act irresponsibly with little or no respect for others. Killarney Chamber of Tourism and Commerce pleads with everybody to behave in a responsible manner in terms of implementing COVID-19 social distancing requests and to make one final push to ensure everybody can finish the holiday season in a safe manner.”
The Chamber encourages people to adhere to social distancing, face coverings and other public health guidelines, as recommended by the authorities.
“Kerry County Council and businesses in Killarney have introduced several measures to keep everybody safe and we would urge everybody to respect them.”
Kerry Fine Gael TD and Deputy Government Chief Whip, Brendan Griffin, also said there is no excuse for the shameful scenes.
Deputy Griffin said the people involved were old enough to know the difference between right and wrong and has said that such behaviour in the town cannot be tolerated.
“Everybody has an obligation to act responsibly and not to contribute to the problem,” he said. “The message needs to go out that Killarney is not a town to party in at the moment. Large groups of people not adhering to social distancing guidelines are not welcome and these people could make many others sick and further damage the already devastated local tourism and hospitality sector.
“I commend local Gardaí for their efforts to restore order under extremely difficult circumstances while trying to cope with numerous serious situations all at the same time. Scenes of disorder on the streets of Killarney are incredibly disheartening to so many people right now.”
He said that he is encouraging people to talk to their peers in the cold light of day to discuss sensible ways of socialising and living with the virus.
“This is a difficult time for people but being extremely reckless is not an option no matter how much people miss normality. A repeat cannot occur.”