Dublin Zoo should be reopened on a restricted basis to ease pressure on public parks and so people can enjoy more outdoor amenities, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Dublin West Senator Emer Currie has called for Dublin Zoo to be reopened to visitors with strict controls in place to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
Senator Currie said, “While we all agree that restrictions which are in place to reduce the spread of Covid-19 are necessary, they have been very challenging for people throughout the country.
“There are ways we can maximise our available outdoor space better to give people a bit of a lift. The parks and amenities within our five kilometres are under severe pressure with more people exercising outdoors.
“I think Dublin Zoo should be reopened to take pressure off crowded parks and amenities, to give people a much-needed change of scenery and help keep them open for business in the long run.
“They would be capable of controlling the number of visitors entering their gates in a way that public parks cannot. If it were to reopen, Dublin Zoo could keep its indoor facilities closed, run a one-way system, visitors can pre-book their trips, and advise that it is open for people within the permitted travel radius.
“These controls would ensure that there is adequate space maintained between visitors, so that public health requirements are adhered to and yet, visitors would enjoy the full Zoo experience.
“We know that these attractions have been struggling as they remained closed throughout much of the pandemic, and reopening in a controlled way could help them recover after a difficult year.
“The Government is doing all it can to help businesses, and I welcome the €3 million in funding which was allocated to Dublin Zoo and Fota Wildlife Park in December by my colleague Minister O’Donovan in December, in addition to support being provided by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage.
“I know we have to be conservative, but where we can be compassionate, I think we need to be too,” Senator Currie concluded.