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02/08/2021

Garda checkpoints to continue beyond Covid-19 lockdown but not on motorways

coronavirus covid-19

Covid-19 checkpoint in Portlaoise

Garda checkpoints will continue under adapted Covid-19 policing as the country moves out of Level 5 lockdown on Tuesday, December 1.

Gardai say the focus of the operation reflects the guidelines and regulations under Level 3 of the Government’s Living with COVID-19 plan.

The plan involves the following measures:

- Under Operation Fanacht, in excess of 100 checkpoints on main routes supported by a schedule of mobile checkpoints will be conducted on a daily basis with a focus on the guidelines on inter-county travel.

- Static checkpoints will operate during off-peak hours 10am to 4pm, and 7pm to 9pm.

- The fixed checkpoints on motorway/ dual carriageway routes will no longer be in place.

- High visibility patrols will take place in key city, urban and retail locations in the run-up to Christmas. There will also be patrols that will focus on the night-time economy. Gardaí will be liaising closely with retail and licensed premises.

- Checks on licensed premises under Operation Navigation will step back up again.

- Community engagement activity will continue to focus on the vulnerable and those who feel isolated, particularly during Christmas time.

- Continued active investigation of domestic abuse, as well as support for victims under Operation Faoiseamh

As was the case under Level 5, Gardaí say they will be maximise its operational resources to deliver a high visibility presence to provide public reassurance.

In delivering this operation, Gardaí say they will continue to use the 4Es approach of engage, explain and encourage, and only as a last resort, enforcement.

The Gardaí reiterated that they can only enforce penal regulations. It does not have powers to enforce public health guidelines.

Speaking today, Commissioner Drew Harris said: "Throughout the pandemic there has been very good compliance by the public with the health advice and regulations. It is critical that this continues in Level 3.

"While people are able to undertake more activities and travel wider from 1st December, we all need to remember that COVID-19 is still with us and we should act accordingly. We all must continue to play our part by heeding the public health advice. This is the best way of protecting ourselves, our loved ones and our neighbours.”

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said: "Between now and 18th December, An Garda Síochána’s focus is on keeping people safe through a wide-range of operational activities. In doing so, based on our tradition of policing by consent, An Garda Síochána will maintain its 4Es approach with the main emphasis being on engaging people to encourage compliance.

"In addition, while the run-up to Christmas is a time of joy for many people, for some it can be lonely and difficult. An Garda Síochána will have a particular emphasis during the coming weeks on reaching out to people who are vulnerable or feel isolated. We are here to help in any way we can. If you know someone who is struggling or needs help, please contact your local Garda station and we will do whatever we can. Even a social distanced chat can make a world of difference to people at this stressful time,” added Deputy Twomey.

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