Garda get new powers to fine or prosecute people breaking Covid-19 travel laws

Gardaí commence Fixed Charge Notices for breaches of Covid-19 Travel Restrictions

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

Garda checkpoints start tonight and pubs will be monitored too

Covid-19 checkpoint in Portlaoise last year.

People have already been fined and jailed for breaking Covid-19 restriction laws and now the Gardaí have new powers to prosecute breaches of travel restrictions under Covid-19 Regulations by means of Fixed Charge Notice.

Gardaí say a regulation in the Health Act states that ‘an applicable person shall not leave his or her place of residence without reasonable excuse’. This is a Penal regulation and is enforceable.

The Gardaí issued a statement on Monday, January 11 about how they will have more authority to impose penalties of people in breach of the rules designed to stop Covid-19 from spreading.

They said they have been consistent in a graduated policing response to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with the tradition of policing by consent. They say this has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
 
A statement said that from January 11, where breaches of the travel regulations are detected and a person does not comply with a direction of a Garda, a prosecution now can be commenced by means of a €100 Fixed Charge Notice.  Where more appropriate, the Gardaí say they may seek a direction from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
 
Speaking today Deputy Commissioner John Twomey, Policing and Security said, 

"An Garda Síochána continues to see significant compliance by the public with Public Health Regulations, however we also continue to see some activity which is in contravention of these regulations introduced to stop the current spread of Covid-19 and protect our communities.  I appeal to every person without a reasonable excuse for travel - Stay at Home, this is your duty as a citizen and will save lives and support our front line services, nurses, doctors, hospital staff and my Garda colleagues at this time,” he said.

Gardaí say they COVID-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives.

More details on the fixed charge notice system can be found on the Garda website.

As highlighted by An Garda Síochána some court outcomes of previous Garda enforcement activity are highlighted below:

• Co. Cavan, Male found in breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, €150 fine
• Co. Kildare, Male found in breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, €250 fine following appeal
• Co. Sligo, 2 Males found in breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, Both €300 fine
• Co Dublin, Male in breach of Covid Regulations directed to return home, observed still in breach of regulations at same location 2 hours later, €350 fine 
• Co. Tipperary, Male found in breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, €400 fine
• Co. Dublin, Male found in breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, 30 days imprisonment
• Co. Leitrim, Male found in Breach of travel restrictions without reasonable excuse, 2 months Imprisonment