Ballymahon residents debate social distancing concerns at Newcastle Woods

Carpark full and cars lining the road as large numbers of people use the facility

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Ballymahon residents debate social distancing concerns at Newcastle Woods

Residents of Ballymahon and surrounding areas have expressed concern about the number of people gathering at Newcastle Woods following a post on Twitter by @BallymahonDaily highlighting the number of cars parked at the facility.

The tweet shows a photo of a full carpark at the River Inny entrance to the forest and expresses concern that there was also a large number of cars parked along the road near the entrance.

"So much for social distancing and for the enforcing of the 2km travel ban," the tweet read.

The tweet received some responses, with local musician Katie Gallagher pointing out that she has seen a number of groups in the woods, fishing and drinking.

"I know the guards patrol often, but it's inside the forest they need to go," she said.

Local journalist, Denise Canavan, however, noted that there are a large number of people living within a 2km radius of the forest.

"It's a pretty big forest," she said, noting that, while the carpark might be full, people are dispersed and adhering to social distancing.

Her tweet was backed up by Roscommon/Galway's Senator Eugene Murphy who said that similar scenes can be observed at Sliabh Bán, where many people are out walking but observing social distancing.

Ms Canavan also made the point that the woods are far safer for families with small children than the roads near residential properties.