Close to 1,000 fines have been issued by An Garda Síochána for non-essential travel deemed unlawful under the Covid-19 Level 5 restrictions.
Gardaí say that since the introduction of these fines on January 11 last until close of business on Thursday evening, the gardaí had issued 771 fines for non-essential travel across the country. A further 200 fines are being checked and processed.
“The public is advised to plan their weekend activities with 5km limit in mind,” said a garda spokesperson. “The 5km limit includes the distance travelled from your home to exercise location.”
Gardaí warn that will be continuing its series of checkpoints and high visibility patrols at public amenities across the country this weekend in support of public health regulations.
Last weekend, over 300 fines were issued for suspected breaches of the public health regulations related to non-essential travel.
As it did last weekend, Gardaí advised the public of the need to plan their activities over the weekend to take account that people are only allowed to exercise within 5km of their home. The say the public should also be aware that if a driver is found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations that not only can the driver be fined, but their adult passengers as well. This is also the case for adults in groups undertaking activities such as cycling or walking – every adult in such a group can be fined.
Gardaí has also to date issued 30 fines for the non-wearing of face masks in certain locations with the vast majority of these – 26 – being in retail premises. People are advised that under public health regulations they must wear a face mask in retail premises. Under the regulations, Gardaí can take enforcement action in relation to such matters once it has been informed of the alleged breach by a relevant authority i.e. the manager of retail premises.
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said: "The vast majority of people are complying with the non-essential travel regulations. This is very welcome. However, there are still some people who are not compliant. These regulations are in place to protect public health. At a time when significant numbers of people are dying or seriously ill we all need to do all we can to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
"If people want to protect our health service and support our doctors, nurses and other front-line workers who are putting themselves in harm’s way every day to tackle Covid-19 then they should stay home. They should only make essential journeys, reduce their contacts, practice social distancing, and wash their hands. Please stay safe and keep others safe by staying home.”
A breakdown by garda region of the non-essential travel fines issued up to close of business yesterday is: 144 issued in the DMR, 315 in East, 213 in South, and 99 in North West.
Of those receiving the fines, 77 per cent have been male and 23 per cent have been female. The age breakdown is: 18-25 (40 per cent), 26-35 (26 per cent), 36-45 (21 per cent), 46-55 (8 per cent), 56-55 (3 per cent), and 66 plus (2 per cent).