People parked along the road at the Bloody Bridge caused dangerous conditions for passing motorists
BOTH the council and local police were forced to implement a number of measures following dangerous parking at the Bloody Bridge and Head Road.
Large rows of cars visiting the tourist hot spots in the Mournes over the weekend left the local roads dangerous for both pedestrians and vehicles.
Mournes councillors all spoke out on social media about the conditions and called on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to take action.
Following a number of complaints the council is set to now provide additional coning along Head Road to address any remaining pinch points.
The council will also cone an additional length of road either side of Bloody Bridge car park and provide additional cones to the entrance of Tollymore and Bryansford village.
Police Newry Mourne and Down were also forced to take action with the cars that were parked dangerously and The Outlook understands a number of fixed penalty notices were issued.
A warning was also issued by local police for people to follow social distancing guidelines at beauty spots as patrols were ramped up.
A post said: “We have encountered a large number of people along the Head Road, Kilkeel reducing everyone’s ability to maintain a safe social distance.
“The vehicles parked along the road also pose a risk especially at junctions. Social distancing is key to stop the spread of Covid-19
“Please use your common sense and avoid well known tourist and beauty spots so that you protect your own health and others health.”
A row of cars parked on the Head Road, Kilkeel caused a number of issues for locals and farmers
Meanwhile, Mournes Sinn Fein Councillor Sean Doran said he was inundated with complaints from the public about the parking at beauty spots in areas of the Mournes .
Councillor Doran said: “The way these cars park is disgraceful and show total disrespect for the locals and farmers of the Mournes.
“Mournes councillors have lobbied for something to be done about this parking on that many occasions I have lost count and it seems to be falling on deaf ears and it’s only a matter of time before someone loses their life because of which is in my view illegal parking.
“I will keep lobbying for something to be done to resolve this problem but I think the power of the people would also help, so I’d ask everyone who has concerns about this issue to help by calling the PSNI on 101 and DfI and complain about this issue and hopefully together we can find a resolution to this issue.”
Mournes DUP Councillor Glyn Hanna said the parking at the Head Road was an “absolute disgrace” but welcomed proactive policing in the area.
Councillor Hanna continued: “Over the last week people have been coming to Mourne and parking in a number of places and it is causing problems for farmers with accessing their fields and also problems for locals too on the road.
“I am delighted to have received emails from council, that council and the PSNI are now taking steps to address problems on Head Road, Mountain Road the Bloody Bridge and Trassey
“This is not the end of this as when the current Covid-19 emergency is over the parking issue is still there. I want infrastructure put in place, such as more car parks, toilets to address these problems.”
In a statement to The Outlook, Supt. Jane Humphries said: "Police dealt with parking issues in and around the Newcastle, Kilkeel and Annalong areas at the weekend. A number of Fixed Penalty Notices were issued. Police also had to close Trassey Road, Newcastle, to all but residents on Saturday, due to concerns around parking.
"We are also aware that parking created difficulties for local residents and farmers who needed to gain access to their properties and livestock in fields. Police will always work with the community around local issues and we would urge all motorists and pedestrians to exercise caution at all times, to ensure that neither they or any other road user is placed in danger and to help promote community safety.
"I understand that as time goes on, and with the current spell of good weather, some people may be tempted to get out and about and make the most of the sunshine.
"However, as a Police Service, our key role is to support our public health colleagues and the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure we all play our part in stopping the spread of the virus and help save lives. Every one of us needs to make informed and sensible decisions about our conduct over the coming days to ensure that we are protecting our own health and the health of others.
"The public should be well aware of the advice from our public health partners and the government about social distancing and movement and, on that basis, we would encourage people not to drive to local beauty spots or popular destinations as others may have the same idea and social distancing may not be achievable.
"Each and every one of us has a personal responsibility to follow the NI Executive regulations and do everything we can to stop the spread of Covid-19."