Local authorities must outline their plans to facilitate safe outdoor Summer – Higgins

2nd June 2021 - Emer Higgins, TD

Local authorities must act fast to put practical solutions in place to facilitate safe socialising as we prepare for an outdoor summer, a Fine Gael TD has said.

Deputy Emer Higgins has asked the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage, of which she is a member, to request all local authorities in the country to share their plans and ideas on providing for an outdoor summer.

“While the waste that was left behind on Dublin City streets last weekend was not acceptable, the majority of people seemed to be meeting up in small groups to socialise outdoors and enjoy the fine weather after a very difficult year,” said Deputy Higgins.

“We have asked the public to follow health advice and stick to outdoor activities for the summer, but it’s no use asking people to socialise outside if the facilities aren’t in place to do so. We can’t place the blame here on the public, instead we need to take action to avoid a repeat of last weekend’s scenes in the capital.

“Local authorities need to act now to put the practical solutions in place to ensure safe outdoor socialising can happen; allowing parks to stay open later, increasing the provision of bins and bathrooms, and opening up the availability of large outdoor spaces.

“A few weeks ago, we saw Merrion Square Park take great initiative by laying out grids on their grass to allow people stay in their social bubbles. We should be doing more of this and keeping parks and public spaces open later.

“With the bright evenings getting longer, there’s no reason for parks to close so early and these bigger spaces are perfect for outdoor socialising.

“I have asked the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage to write to all local councils so they can outline the steps they are taking to prepare for an outdoor summer,” concluded Deputy Higgins.

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