Commencing today, An Garda Síochána will increase our compliance checks and engagement with communities on the use of public spaces in support of Level 5 under the Framework for Living with COVID-19 which commenced on the 22nd October 2020.
4 weeks into this 6 week phase of Level 5 the focus of An Garda Síochána remains to keep people safe by supporting public health measures to further reduce the spread and drive down the impact of COVID-19 on our communities and most vulnerable citizens.
An Garda Síochána will increase our patrols and engagement particularly in relation to gathering in large groups in open spaces. This will see increased Garda activity on foot, mountain bikes and vehicle patrols in identified public spaces.
An Garda Síochána will maintain a significant presence on our roads, continuing static and rolling checkpoints, to check compliance with travel restrictions.
An Garda Síochána will continue to check retail and business premises, checking compliance with essential services.
An Garda Síochána will continue to engage with and provide ongoing support to the most vulnerable in our communities.
Since the last Garda update on enforcement (30/10/2020) there have been an additional
· 7 alleged breaches of the Health Act 1947
· 8 alleged breaches by licensed Premises (Operation Navigation)
· 29 alleged breaches by Retail Premises (Operation Treoraím)
· 1 alleged breach for Face Coverings Regulations
On every occasion that a breach of the Covid-19 Public Health regulations is alleged An Garda Síochána will seek the advices and direction of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as to how to proceed.
An Garda Síochána has commenced 493 Covid-19 related prosecutions to date. Covid-19 Enforcement statistics have been updated on the Garda website.
From the outset in supporting the COVID-19 public health guidelines and regulations, An Garda Síochána has and will continue to adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
This is not just relevant to COVID-19 public health guidelines and regulations but also where appropriate to other Legislation, Regulations and Byelaws.
An Garda Síochána has lawful authority under various legislation to direct a person to desist from a particular course of action, without resort to initiating a prosecution.
An Garda Siochana is committed to acting in a proportionate manner and working with the community to achieve compliance.
The 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.
Speaking today, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said,
"While it has been disappointing at times to witness some activities by small numbers of individuals and groups I am encouraged by the overwhelming support and compliance being demonstrated right throughout our communities supporting Covid-19 Public Health guidelines.
An Garda Síochána will focus our activities this weekend on these activities which are causing concern to the majority in our society.
At this time of public health pandemic, An Garda Síochána continues to urge the public to look out for your elderly and vulnerable neighbours. If you have a concern please contact your local Garda station, do not stay silent, we are here to help.
"It is more important than ever, for the next 2 weeks of level 5, that we all continue to work together to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the public health advice.”
An Garda Síochána wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the basic ways to protect yourself:
· Only travel for essential reasons
· Reduce your social interactions
· Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty
· Practice good respiratory hygiene, that is, when coughing and sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue
· Discard tissue immediately into a closed bin and clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
· Maintain physical distancing, that is, leave at least 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and other people, particularly those who are coughing, sneezing and have a fever
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth – if you touch your eyes, nose or mouth with your contaminated hands, you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.