Hundreds of garda checkpoints have been mounted around the country to enforce the Covid-19 restrictions on travel and to prevent people from flocking to beauty spots over the Easter weekend.

The new regulations on movement kicked in on Thursday, and already the gardaí have been out in force on the roads and are taking details from all drivers about their destinations when travelling, their purpose for moving and their home addresses.

The move comes amid anecdotal evidence from many parts of the country about visitors descending on popular holiday destinations as the good weather coincides with the bank holiday weekend.

However, with normally thronged beaches around our coastline shut off from the public thanks to barriers on car parks, and some access routes closed, there were reports today of places being quiet that would usually be busy in the run-up to an Easter weekend.

Donegal and Wexford are just two of the coastal counties where beach car parks have been shut, following consultations between local authorities and the gardaí, amid concern about people congregating in breach of the Covid-19 rules.

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Among those closed to the public in County Wexford are Curracloe, Courtown, Carne, Morriscastle, and Ballymoney.

"Everybody knows that we are now at a really important point in our efforts to slow down the spread of the virus," communications director with Wexford County Council, David Minogue, said today.


"We know it is really hard and that the vast majority of people are playing their part and making that sacrifice. We need everybody to make that effort now. What we are doing - by staying at home, by observing the two-kilometre rule, by following the physical distancing advice - we do this for our family, for our friends, our neighbours and, in particular, we make these efforts on behalf of the most vulnerable within our communities.

"We know it is a big ask, but already it is making a difference. Now, more than ever, we need to stick at it and we need to encourage everybody to comply. Our essential workers have to go to work. What everybody else has to do is to stay at home. This is how we will save lives."

Hotelier and Visit Wexford committee member Colm Neville said that the more people comply with the regulations, the sooner tourism and other businesses will be able to restart.

"People will get to enjoy the facilities we have here in Wexford if people just stick to what they've been doing," he said.

"It's a wonderful place to visit, it’s incredible to come and see and we’re blessed with numerous visitors every year… but just for now, don’t come and visit Wexford, we’ll be here, we’ll be delighted to be welcoming you all summer, the sooner we can see this through, the sooner we can start welcoming visitors back again."

Gardaí had busy checkpoints outside Letterkenny in County Donegal and there were long tailbacks from roads leading from Derry and Lifford.

There were also checks at other smaller coastal towns, such as Dungloe. 

Meanwhile, in County Clare, business and community leaders have condemned the appearance of a leaflet threatening holiday home owners in Kilkee to "do the right thing… f**k out of Kilkee now! If you do not leave when this crisis is over, you may not have a holiday home to return to this summer."