A woman who oversees a business that has a fleet of Ice Cream vans on the road each summer has slammed Meath county council over their decision to ban casual traders from the county’s beaches for the summer.

Smiths Ice Cream vans have been a mainstay of seaside life in Meath for almost five decades but they conspicuous by their absence this summer.

Now boss Caroline White has echoed Winston Churchill’s wartime speech and declared, ‘I’ll fight them on the beaches.’

An angry Caroline told Meath Live, ‘Last Tuesday, July 7th, I received an email from the council telling us they would not be allocating the casual trading pitches on any of the beaches.

‘Traditionally there is a lottery for places and as not too many actually apply we have been a constant there for over forty years.

‘I was annoyed at the fact there was no consultation so I emailed every single councillor and the environmental section of the council and to date, exactly a week later I have received two replies, from Fine Gaels Paddy Meade who was very supportive and Fianna Fails Stephen McKee who backed me up as well, the rest of them didn’t even bother to get back to me.

‘It’s put the tin hat on things as the pandemic has seen all our other avenues, like the Moynalty Steam threshing, the Skerries road races and any festival you care to name fall by the wayside, all we have left are the housing estates.

‘I can’t understand it, I may be wrong on this but I think Meath County Council might be the only one imposing this ban, certainly I was at the lottery draw for Fingal council last week and casual traders are certainly being allowed operate on Portmarnock beach for example.

‘Nobody has had the decency to come back to me and explain who exactly made the decision, the two councillors told me they never voted on it, so who made the call, I’d love to have a few words with them over it.’

However according to the council while the elected members may not have voted for the ban they rubber stamped it.

A MCC spokesperson told Meath Live, ‘The Members of the Council at the July meeting agreed to accept a recommendation from the Environment Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) that in order to protect public health, and assist with ensuring public health guidelines can be followed, to prohibit general vehicle access to Meath beaches, at least until social distancing is no longer advised by public health officials.

 

‘It was also agreed to facilitate limited parking (10/ 12 spaces) to cater for disabled /age friendly vehicles on the southern side of the main entrance to the beach and that the operation of this approach be monitored over the coming months and considered further at the September SPC meeting.

 

‘On this basis it has been decided not to extend the invitation for trading concessions on Bettystown Beach for the summer of 2020 but subject to improved circumstances consideration will be given for such concessions next year and as part of any revised parking arrangements which may be in place at that stage.’