PHOTOS: And then there were three! Another encampment arrives in Curragh

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LATEST: Another encampment of caravans appears on Curragh Plains

The third encampment appeared in the past 48 hours

A third encampment of caravans has appeared on the Curragh Plains despite Covid-19 restrictions on essential-only travel which can be enforced by new laws.  

Up to ten caravans and several vehicles are now located off the main (R415) Kildare to Milltown road near Rathbride Cross Roads. 

The encampment has only moved to the area in the past 48 hours as it had not been there earlier in the week.

It's not known where the caravans came from. 

Under the government's public health restrictions, members of the Traveller community who are located in temporary sites, are not permitted to move. 

There are currently two other encampments on the Curragh Plains. 

On Monday, drone photographs showed 23 caravans at the main encampment on Walsh's Hill off the R445 (below).

Another smaller encampment of up to six caravans and vehicles was located near the intercity rail line (below).

Photos: Stephen Maher. (stephenmaher@outlook.com)

The Department of Defence, which has official jurisdiction over the Curragh Plains, said on Monday that it is not viable to move on the large encampment until after the Covid-19 restrictions.

Up to last Saturday, gardaí said they have arrested a total of 34 people nationwide for failing to comply with public health regulations such as restrictions on non-essential travel and exercise more than 2km from the home.

Officers have powers under the Health Act 1947- Section 31A- Temporary Restrictions (Covid 19) Regulations 2020.

In all cases where arrests were made under the regulations, Gardaí consulted with the Director of Public Prosecutions on the decision to charge.

Senator Fiona O'Loughlin has said that the Curragh is a place of great ecological, archaeological and cultural importance and is being widely used by local people for their daily exercise within 2km.

She said: "For several years, there have been ongoing issues with illegal dumping and encampments on the Curragh which completely detract from its beauty and affect the many local people who use it for leisure purposes."

Speaking about the large encampment, she said: “In the short term, swift and decisive action must be taken to remove this encampment as soon as that is possible. I understand the difficulties this poses for our Gardai and Military Police and they should be given whatever State help they require."

READ MORE: Call for encampments to be moved on as soon as possible