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Plans to address Keem Bay parking chaos


POPULAR Keem Bay in Achill.

Oisín McGovern

A PARKING plan is currently being progressed for one of the most popular areas of Achill island.
The monthly meeting of Westport-Belmullet Municipal District was told that a parking plan is being presented for Keem Bay on the island’s western coast.
The area has long been a popular attraction during the summer season but has experienced parking shortages in recent years due to the volume of visitors.
Local county councillor Paul McNamara said that the area had gotten ‘tremendous’ publicity due to the success of The Banshees of Insheerin, which was filmed on the island.
Cllr McNamara said that a lot of the problems were being caused by illegal overnight parking.
The Fianna Fáil councillor said that the marking of double yellow lines at the bottom car park ‘didn’t solve the problem’ when it was carried out last summer.
“I don’t believe we can have a situation where Keem Bay is closed every day at half-twelve. There has to be a better structure put in place to facilitate the people and the local people that visit Keem Bay at a daily basis,” Cllr McNamara said.
“I think to see guards standing down at the entrance to Keem Bay saying that it’s closed, it’s overcrowded, I don’t think that’s the answer. That is what has been done for the last three years.”
Catherine McConnell, Director of Services for the Westport Municipal District, said ‘a strategy’ was being worked on in consultation with the gardaí.
Ms McConnell said any new arrangements would take into account what the community feel is appropriate.
She said councillors would be given an update regarding the plan at their next meeting.
Cllr McNamara’s proposal was supported by Cllr Gerry Coyle, who described the parking situation in Keem Bay as ‘a bit of chaos’.