UPDATE: Gardaí to carry out thousands of checkpoints every week under Level 3
Gardaí will return to the roads around the country tonight as Ireland enters Level 3 of Covid-19 restrictions, confining citizens to their own counties except for essential reasons.
In a statement today, gardaí said: "Following the Government’s decision for the country to move to Level 3 of the National Framework for Living with Covid-19, An Garda Síochána will re-commence Operation Fanacht from midnight tonight, October 6, 2020, as a nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with current public health measures."
The government took the decision to ignore NPHET's advice to go to Level 5, instead choosing Level 3 with "enhanced enforcement," suggesting gardaí would be tasked with being more visible than in recent months.
The restrictions come into effect from midnight tonight.
In support of this announcement, there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country with the focus of this activity continuing to be encouraging people to adhere to national public health measures.
It will involve 132 large-scale checkpoints a day on main arterial routes around the country in addition to thousands of mobile checkpoints on secondary routes in towns and villages a week.
Speaking today, Commissioner Drew Harris said, "An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe. This will be a major policing operation across the country with high visibility of Garda members to support public health measures.
"An Garda Síochána is encouraging people not to travel out of their county unless it is for essential purposes.
"We want to advise people that will be conducting major checkpoints on main routes and travelling by road from tomorrow will be different from travelling today. People using the roads are likely to face delays.
"Since the start of the pandemic, An Garda Síochána has adopted a graduated policing approach based on its tradition of consent. We have seen compliance by the vast majority of the public with this approach. Independent surveys have also found significant public support for it. We will continue to police in this way.
"We have also had a strong focus on the protecting and supporting the vulnerable. That will continue as well. If you need our help, please contact your local Garda station.
"As an organisation rooted in the community, An Garda Síochána understands the difficulties these measures place on everybody. More than ever, we all need to work together and adhere to public health guidelines and regulations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”
An Garda Síochána remains committed to supporting the most vulnerable in our society, particularly our elderly and those at risk. We have always worked closely with our communities and we continue to do so in these extraordinary times.
Speaking today, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Policing and Security said, "An Garda Síochána will continue to play our part to assist and support people, particularly those who are vulnerable and feeling isolated. Your local Gardaí are here to help whether that is delivering medical prescriptions, collecting your pension or other supports you may need.
"Any person with these concerns for themselves or for a neighbour please contact your local Garda station."