Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.31 4 May 2021


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A special hotline has been set up in Donegal to allow people to tell Gardaí about illegal gatherings and parties.

It has been established by officers in Letterkenny but will cover breaches in the entire county.

The new phone number was set up today, and the public can report incidents to 074-7167101.

NPHET has also expressed concern at the rise in cases in Donegal.

On Friday, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan warned even "the dogs on the street" could see there were examples of people not complying with the guidelines in the county - saying things need to turn around quickly.

Health officials met with local representatives over the weekend to discuss more supports for the county.

Dr Holohan, Dr Ronan Glynn and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly met with local representatives from Donegal on Saturday.

Ideas such as more walk-in test centres and antigen testing in schools were among the proposals discussed to help support authorities in tackling the high COVID-19 rates in the border county.

Speaking to The Pat Kenny Show today, Dr Denis McCauley, a GP in Stranorlar in Co Donegal, said the situation in the county is "slightly more nuanced" than just being down to young people's behaviour.

Donegal Gardaí set up hotline for public to report illegal gatherings and parties

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"The effect that the border has on north Donegal particularly is really important," he said.

"I think you have to visualise that Derry and Strabane are having a higher rate of COVID infections relative to Northern Ireland and that high incidence rate is concentrated among the 2o and 30-year-olds, so it's almost like a super-charged event then.

"I think the good work of the Donegal people is being diluted somewhat by the presence of the border and then when you do transgress, I think when you have a birthday party in Kerry or a birthday party in north Donegal, the effect of that birthday party in Donegal is much greater because there's a young population on both sides of the border that have a very high rate of COVID.

"So I think we should be complimenting the people of Donegal that they're working really hard, we should have empathy for the fact that the border does dilute the actions of the good work that people are actually doing."

Dr McCauley added that much of the same behaviour can be seen among people across the country, not just in certain counties.

"Unfortunately, I think the optic of the high incidence in Derry and Strabane is calculated on a whole population basis but it's concentrated in the very young," he said.

"Young people are young people and we can only try and encourage them but I think that the young people of Donegal are acting as good and as badly as the rest of the country.

"It's still a very serious problem, I think it's important that we recognise there's a problem here but it's also much more nuanced than the initial commentary suggested."

Main image: File photo of a Garda on her mobile phone. Credit: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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Covid-19 Covid-19 Vaccine Donegal Donegal Garda Hotline Donegal Gardai Garda Hotline Vaccine Rollout Ireland

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