Large gatherings in Letterkenny last weekend have been condemned for irresponsible behaviour during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Crowds of car enthusiasts descended on the town in recent days, with some reportedly attending unauthorised ‘diffing’ events.
Traffic delays affected parts of the town centre while gardaí dealt with a number of driving incidents.
Gardaí also closed the Port Road and Pearse Road at times over the weekend due to the large volume of traffic.
“People were very concerned that people were gathering and not practising social distancing. You could hear the noise associated with exhausts and revving over the weekend,” said Cllr Gerry McMonagle, who is the Chair of the Donegal Joint Policing Committee.
The 2020 Donegal International Rally was due to be staged last weekend, but the official and controlled event had been postponed due to the pandemic.
“It’s clear this is nothing to do with the rally. The rally was postponed but here we have again these so-called rally enthusiasts who are just coming for diffing,” Cllr McMonagle said.
Diffing events were filmed on social media in areas around Bonagee, with large crowds of people reportedly in attendance.
“It was irresponsible to be organising events like that in the middle of a pandemic. You wonder how this was able to be done people you’re not allowed upward of 15 people outside,” Cllr McMonagle said.
Gardaí on patrol were praised for their work during a difficult time as members mourn the death of Detective Garda Colm Horkan in Castlerea, Co Roscommon.
“The guards this weekend had enough on their plate having to bury their late colleague and the traumatic effect that would have had on them. Now, to be dealing with things like this is not good enough,” Cllr McMonagle said.
Now that the weekend has passed, Cllr McMonagle is calling on people to reflect on why they continue attending such events. It is believed that some may have travelled outside their current Covid-19 travel restrictions to visit Letterkenny.
Cllr McMonagle added: “A number of vehicles about had different types of registrations which suggest that people were travelling from other counties to be here this weekend for these events.
“For those who travelled, they need to think about others and they need to think about where we are at in this pandemic.
“The town is only opening up, but it is done under guidance people are taking necessary precautions and then we have events like this where people are travelling from others areas into the county and that can only jeopardise the good work we are doing to date.”