At the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Gardaí in Killarney were getting several calls a day about road bowling in parts of the town.
hat’s according to Killarney Garda Superintendent Flor Murphy, who made the remarks at last Friday’s online meeting of the Kerry Joint Policing Committee.
When asked about people road bowling at various locations in and around Killarney – including a number of housing estates – Supt Murphy said that earlier in the year gardaí were getting several reports a day about people road bowling.
While gardaí responded to all reports, Supt Murphy said that in most cases the “young people” involved had already gone by the time gardaí arrived at the scene.
He added that, in and of itself ,road bowling is not a crime just as it isn’t a criminal offence to play football on the street.
However, he added that “associated breaches” such as damage to property or the disruption of traffic were potentially criminal matters but that formal complaints and evidence is required if gardaí are to prosecute.
Supt Murphy said that one person was due to come before the courts arising from a road-bowling event in Killarney.
The charges are COVID-19 related and are not linked to the road bowling itself.
It is alleged that the person had breached lockdown rules by attending the event – which took place more than 2km from their home – and breaching the travel limit in place at the time.
The individual is due in court in relation to the incident at a later date, Supt Murphy said.
Councillors in the Killarney Municipal District have raised concerns about road bowling on numerous occasions with council management in a bid to crack-down on this activity, which they said was frightening older people living in estates where crowds were gathering to play.
Ballyspillane was one of the areas mentioned at a council meeting. It was heard that this was frighting many elderly residents.
Cllr Maura Healy-Rae told a municipal meeting recently that “elderly people are increasingly vulnerable. There are 30 to 40 people gathering to play and to go road-bowling…”
Cllr Niall Kelleher told the same meeting that he had concerns about road bowling and had sought assistance from the council on the matter, but council bye-laws do not prohibit road bowling.
Cllr Marie Moloney also told management that she had been contacted about concerns about road bowling close to people’s homes.