Thousands of Gardai on the streets to enforce start of coronavirus lockdown

Major Policing Operation in support of public compliance of public health measures

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Covid-19  coronavirus

Garda announce coronavirus lockdown operation

Gardaí have started a major nationwide policing operation this weekend focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures involved in the coronavirus lockdown.

Following announcements by the Taoiseach of the necessity for people to undertake a range of public health measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19, there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country during the weekend.

Gardai say the focus of this activity will be on encouraging people to adhere to public health measures as announced by An Taoiseach. 

The policing operation runs from 7pm tonight until 7am on Monday morning (March 30) and will involve thousands of Gardaí on foot, bike and mobile patrols.

While An Garda Síochána will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, they say they will intervene where venues/ outlets are not in compliance or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended measures.

Gardai say they acknowledge that the vast majority of the public are being responsible and making great efforts to implementing public health measures including social distancing guidelines, this includes staying active as a family unit and availing of fresh air and exercise. 

However, the presence of large crowds in any one area reduces the effective impact of social distancing.  

An Garda Síochána asks people and families to continue to be responsible, not to attend popular locations for overly long periods and where the numbers of persons starts to increase at any location to leave such areas.

Announcing An Garda Síochána’s operation for this weekend Commissioner Drew Harris said: "An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe and that will continue this weekend. There will be a major policing plan across the country with high visibility of Garda members at key locations.

"It is vital that people adhere to the social distancing guidelines. This will reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives. The vast majority of people are complying with the guidelines and we want that to continue this weekend. By all of us working together, we can flatten the curve and keep our loved ones safe.”

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said: "These high visibility patrols are to provide re-assurance and social distancing advice to the public. 

"Garda members will pro-actively engage positively with people. An Garda Síochána will police as it has always done with the consent of the people. It is in everybody’s interest that people comply with these measures.”