News 2020

 

Title:  COVID-19 - Statement by Mountaineering Ireland President, Paul Kellagher
Date:  22/03/2020

Statement by Paul Kellagher, President of Mountaineering Ireland, the representative body for hillwalkers and climbers on the island of Ireland 

In normal circumstances, Mountaineering Ireland would be delighted to see lots of people getting outdoors and enjoying the beauty and majesty of the hills and mountains.

These are anything but normal times. We are on the count down to a major health emergency. Despite advice from Public Health experts to engage in sensible social distancing, recent days have seen large numbers of people flocking to hill and mountain areas.

The ignoring of Public Health advice on social distancing is selfish and irresponsible.

You may think that you are Socially Isolating while on the Hills. You are not. Many of the cars lined along roads into the mountains will have driven there from distant places. Along the way,  you may have stopped for fuel or refreshments. When you arrive on the hills, you may have opened a gate or climbed over a stile. While walking, you may have brushed past people on a path. At the top, you may have posed for photos with your friends. In short, you may have had multiple potential contacts with a virus that can live on some surfaces for 72 hours. 

If you have an accident while on the hills, the selfless Mountain Rescue volunteers will still turn out to help you. But they can’t socially distance themselves if they have to carry you on a stretcher. So you are placing them at added risk. Treating your injuries will impose increased strain on health services that are likely to be stretched beyond breaking point in the next few weeks. 

Unfortunately, more people are going to die of Coronavirus in the near future. Some of them may be your friends, relatives and neighbours. Is your trip to the hills worth the risk of spreading the virus?

Wise up folks. 

Stay at home or stay local. If going outdoors, walk in small numbers and avoid places where there are large numbers of people. The mountains will still be there when this crisis passes and we can all resume our enjoyment of the hills then.” 

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