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No excuse 'Covid-19 doesn’t switch-off so that people can attend parties' - Garda warning as they bring in new travel fine

Gardai revealed today that of the approximately 4,600 fines issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations,3,523 have related to non-essential travel.

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Gardai conducting a Covid 19 checkpoint at the entrance to the Phoenix Park on Chesterfield Avenue., Photograph by Gerry Mooney

Gardai conducting a Covid 19 checkpoint at the entrance to the Phoenix Park on Chesterfield Avenue., Photograph by Gerry Mooney

Gardai conducting a Covid 19 checkpoint at the entrance to the Phoenix Park on Chesterfield Avenue., Photograph by Gerry Mooney

Gardai have warned that a new €100 fine for non-essential cross-border travel will come into effect on Monday morning. 

They revealed today that of the approximately 4,600 fines issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations, 3,523 have related to non-essential travel.

From 7am on February 8, anyone not ordinarily resident here and “engaging in travel in this jurisdiction without a reasonable excuse” may be liable to receive a fine.

“If enforcement is required, Gardaí will issue a Fixed Payment Notice (FPN) for €100 to every adult present who is in breach of this regulation,” Gardai have said in a statement this afternoon.

“For example, if the driver of a car has two adult passengers then each of the three adults in the car will receive a €100 fine.”

Travelling to an airport or port to take a holiday abroad is not an essential journey and since January 29, Gardaí have issued approximately 375 fines at Dublin Airport to people for leaving the country for non-essential travel.

Gardaí also revealed that six people will appear before District Courts in March for non-payment of a Covid-19 fine. The people will appear before District Courts in Dublin, Cork, Meath, Waterford and Limerick.

“Over the last few days, An Garda Síochána have also attended breaches of health regulations by licensed premises, restaurants, retail outlets, hair and beauty salons amongst other business premises. In all instances, files will be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions,” Gardai said in a statement.

“An Garda Síochána continue to investigate potential breaches of Public Health Regulations associated with funerals which can currently have a maximum 10 mourners and weddings where only six attendees can attend."

People issued with a Covid-19 related fine have 28 days to pay the fine.

“An Garda Síochána has a process in place with the Courts Service where anyone who fails to pay their fine within 28 days will receive a Court date shortly after,” Gardai added.

“It is a matter for the Court, but failure to pay the FPN can result in conviction for a first offence in the District Court in a fine of €1,000 and/or imprisonment.”

An Garda Síochána has also to date issued 94 fines for the non-wearing of face masks in certain locations with the vast majority of these – 70 – being in retail premises.

“People are advised that under public health regulations they must wear a face mask in retail premises,” they added.

“Under the regulations, An Garda Síochána 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 a retail premises.”

Meanwhile, Gardai will be manning nationwide checkpoints and high visibility patrols at public amenities across the country this weekend in support of public health regulations.

“People are reminded that the 5km limit includes the distance travelled from their home to a location for exercise. In other words, you can’t travel more than 5km to a location to exercise,” Gardai said.

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said: "Despite the significant challenges and sacrifices, the vast majority of people continue to comply with the public health advice. We thank them for that and ask them to keep it up."

"However, there also continues to be a minority who are putting themselves, their loved ones, their friends, and their neighbours at risk of getting Covid-19 by not adhering to the regulations.

“Covid-19 doesn’t switch-off so that people can attend parties, or go on holidays, or gather in large groups.

“The message is clear and has been for some time – people 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.”


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