An Garda Síochána will at midnight, Friday 25th September, recommence Operation Fanacht in Donegal.
The Government on the advice of NPHET are requesting the people of county Donegal to adhere to increased public health measures that are being applied to stop the spread of COVID-19. Operation Fanacht is focused on supporting public compliance with these public health measures following the announcement by An Taoiseach yesterday that Donegal will be at level 3 of the Government’s Plan for Living with COVID-19 from midnight, Friday, September 25th.
Operation Fanacht will see a high level of visibility of members of An Garda Síochána in Donegal to support the public health guidelines, particularly in relation to social distancing and gathering in large groups at amenities and open spaces. Targeted Garda checkpoints will be established throughout the county. An Garda Síochána wants to remind everyone that people are being encouraged not to travel out of or into the county of Donegal unless absolutely necessary.
Garda activity in Donegal will be supplemented by Garda personnel from nearby counties, particularly Leitrim and Sligo, who will focus on patrols of destination public amenities and open spaces in those counties. This activity will consist of targeted patrols and checkpoints to check compliance with Public Health Regulations.
An Garda Síochána will also continue to work in co-operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland to support public health efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on the island of Ireland through rolling cross-border checkpoints in relevant locations.
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, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
In respect of regulations, including travel restrictions, which are not declared to be Penal Regulations under the Health Act 1947 as amended, under Operation Fanacht An Garda Síochána will use the approach of the three Es which will see Gardaí engage, educate and encourage, only, compliance with travel regulations.
Operation Navigation, which focuses on compliance with public health regulations by licensed premises, will continue nationwide, and An Garda Síochána will enforce Penal Regulations. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.
Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, "We all have a role individually and collectively in protecting ourselves, our families, our communities and the most vulnerable. It is vital that we all play our part to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by adhering to the public health regulations and guidelines. An Garda Síochána will do its part in keeping people safe. Operation Fanacht is intended to work with communities to support public health measures.”
Deputy Commissioner Twomey added, "Local Gardaí continue to be available to support individuals and local communities, in particular the most vulnerable in our society during this time. If you are feeling isolated or need help with shopping, collecting your prescription or anything else similar, please contact your local Garda station”.
Deputy Commissioner Twomey went on to say, "An Garda Síochána is fully aware of the impact increased restrictions may have on those who are subject to domestic abuse and do not feel safe in their homes. An Garda Síochána takes domestic abuse very seriously. If you are in danger call 999 at any time. If you feel you are not in immediate danger and you require advice and assistance, you can visit or call your local Garda Station and ask to speak with a Garda in private. If you know of someone who cannot speak for themselves please contact your local Garda station.”
An Garda Síochána wants to take this opportunity to remind everyone of the basic ways to protect yourself:
• 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
• Reduce your social interactions