Let's be careful out there
The sizzling sunshine has sparked alerts from local gardai and Wexford Co Council. Maria Pepper reports
As Wexford basks in Bali-like temperatures that have not been experienced in over 40 years, Wexford County Council is advising people to exercise extreme care in unsupervised swimming locations.
Met Eireann issued a status yellow high temperature warning yesterday (Monday) when temperatures hit 27C in places and this is due to remain in place until 9 p.m. on Friday with sizzling highs of up to 30C forecast during the week.
‘We have had tragedies in the past and we don’t want any more,’ said a Council spokesman.
‘During hot weather, people tend to go to quarries, rivers and streams that they know in local areas to cool down and we would advise them to be extremely careful and to use common sense’.
The Council is encouraging people to swim in the main Blue Flag beaches where it is safe and where trained lifeguards are on duty.
‘We would ask people to swim at these beaches, not in undesignated and dangerous areas,’ said the spokesman.
The forecast for today (Tuesday) is top temperatures of up to 28 degrees but it will be fresher in coastal areas due to onshore sea breezes.
Temperatures are expected to remain in the high twenties, possibly higher, from Wednesday to Friday.
This officially constitutes a heatwave, according to Met Eireann meteorologist Harm Luijkx who has predicted that the good weather will continue into next week.
Night time temperatures are also expected to be unusually high at between 12 and 15 degrees and it will be close and humid while the solar UV index will be high or very high all week.
• Meanwhile, elderly people are being advised to remain indoors during peak temperatures this week to avoid sun stroke while homeless people in Wexford are being issued with sun screen and free bottles of water to help them stay hydrated.
‘It’s going to be very hot this week and we are concerned about the welfare of more vulnerable people,’ said a spokesman for Wexford Garda which has joined with the County Council in asking members of the public to look out for their neighbours.
‘We are asking the public to check on elderly neighbours, particularly those living alone, to ensure that they are hydrated and comfortable and as far as possible remaining indoors during times of peak temperatures,’ said a Council spokesman.
The Housing Department of the County Council has financed basic provision packs including water, sun screen and a sun hat, to be made available to rough sleepers in the area which are being distributed by Ozanam House hostel for homeless men in Thomas Street, telephone 053 9121440.
The packs can be collected by calling to the hostel.
Gardai warn drivers as thieves target cars at local beaches
Gardai investigating a theft from a car at Culleton’s Gap in Curracloe over the weekend, have warned beach-goers to be vigilant.
Incidents of robberies from parked cars increase during the summer with opportunistic thieves targeting people who leave their belongings behind to go walking on the beach.
On Saturday afternoon last, handbags and purses containing cash, phones and personal items belonging to three occupants of a parked car at the Raven Point forest were stolen after they left the vehicle for an hour.
‘At this time of year, there is an increase in this type of theft with parked cars being targeted’, said a spokesman at Wexford Garda Station.
‘We would advise people not to leave any valuables in the car and to bring them with them’, he said, confirming that gardai are also investigating a theft from the parked car of a woman who was attending a funeral in Bride Street Church on Saturday. When the woman returned to her car in the church car park, she found the passenger door swinging open. her purse containing cash and other items had been taken.
An epidemic of dumping
As families flock to the beach to cool down, they should leave nothing behind but their footprints, says Wexford County Council’s Communications Officer David Minogue.
Unfortunately, the advice is not being heeded, according to outgoing Mayor of Wexford Cllr. Jim Moore who said the fine weather has brought an epidemic of dumping despite the best efforts of local authority environment staff and litter pickers.
Cllr. Moore provided photographic evidence of the problem and said people are showing ‘blatant disregard for our beaches’.
Wexford County Council recently passed a motion calling on the Department of the Environment to introduce stronger penalties as part of the Litter Act review - where a vehicle is used to litter, that the driver receive penalty points on their licence and where illegal dumping is committed, that the vehicle be impounded under customs office regulations.
‘It was prompted by the activities of people as the fine weather arrived. The photographs all eloquently display the points raised and also our disregard for our beaches,’ he said.
At Curracloe last weekend, beach-goers left bags of rubbish on top of and beside bins which presented an eyesore for other visitors. Council environment staff arrived to clean up the area but the rubbish quickly built up again.
‘It’s only a small few people but they’re making an awful mess,’ said Cllr. Moore.
‘We have 220 kilometres of beautiful coastline and it is one of our most precious resources. It is what brings people to our county and it should be respected’, said David Minogue, asking people to take their rubbish home with them rather than leaving it lying around bins designed for litter.