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garda action Ten people fined for breaching 5km rule in Wicklow mountains

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Photo credit: Garda Facebook

Photo credit: Garda Facebook

Photo credit: Garda Facebook

Gardai have again warned people to stay at home after they were forced to issue fines today to those breaking the five kilometres from home rule.

It has been reported that 10 people have been handed on-the-spot fines under the Public Health Act in the Wicklow Mountains today.

Gardaí patrolling the area say they have told more people to turn around after finding them more than five kilometres from home.

In a Facebook post Wicklow gardai said: "Garda checkpoints in the Wicklow uplands are encountering quite a number of people travelling very deliberately outside their 5km intending to walk in the hills or cycle. 10 people have been issued with FCPN's. Lots of others have been turned around."

There were some opposing views left on the Facebook post with one person arguing: ‘It’s a shame these people just won't listen.

"This is an unnecessary waste of Garda resources made necessary by a few!

"It also puts the Garda crews at greater risk of contracting the virus. The size of the penalties are obviously worth the risk to these people’.

However, another added: ‘People should be allowed to visit open spaces.

"Government could work on some plan to enable people doing that. In these hard times when people are living in their four walls, being able to see mother nature would be great to help restore mental strength."

The Force got new powers to issue a fixed-charge penalty of up to €100 last Monday. The fixed charge penalty notice will arrive in the post and a person will have 28 days to pay it.

Up to Thursday, 37 people had been issued the fine.

Under the level five restrictions in place until the end of the month, people are required to stay at home except when travelling for work, education or other essential purposes, with exercise within five kilometres of home allowed.

Garda Headquarters has warned patrols and checkpoints will continue nationwide this weekend to enforce the lockdown rules.

A Garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána has been consistent in our graduated policing response to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with our tradition of policing by consent.

"This has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.

“Where breaches of the travel regulations are detected and a person does not comply with a direction of An Garda Síochána, a prosecution now can be commenced by means of a €100 Fixed Charge Notice.

"Where more appropriate, An Garda Síochána may seek a direction from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

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