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Lockdown breach: Gardaí break up gathering of ‘up to 200 people’ after Wexford funeral as mourners urged to offer condolences online


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Gardaí have sent a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions after a large crowd gathered at a house in Enniscorthy, Co Wexford following a funeral on Monday.

Enniscorthy currently has the second highest infection rate of Covid-19 in the country, with 3,291 cases per 100,000 of the population.

It comes as the Government today warned about the impact of funerals on the rate of transmission after “concerning” reports of “significant numbers” at funerals.

On Monday, gardaí put in place a policing plan for a funeral in Gorey and it is understood a number of people gathered at a house in Enniscorthy later that evening.

“Gardaí attended the incident and a number of persons were identified to be in breach of the Health Act,” a garda spokesperson told the Irish Independent.

“A file will be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

Sources said there were up to 200 people at the gathering in Enniscorthy.

Gardaí also engaged with a number of individuals at the funeral who weren’t social distancing or wearing face masks.

“These individuals then complied with public health regulations,” the spokesperson said.

“Regulation 8(2) of the Health Act provides restrictions on funerals. Regulation 8(2) is not a penal regulation.”

Under Level 5 restrictions, only 10 mourners can attend a funeral and household visits and gatherings are banned.

According to Liz Canavan, a spokesperson for the department of the Taoiseach, there have been reports of “significant” numbers of people congregating at funeral homes, churches and graveyards before and after services.

“In this third wave, we now sadly see a significant increase in the number of funerals. Concerns are being raised regarding the dangers of dropping our guard at funerals when we are at this critical time,” she said.

“Reports of significant numbers of people congregating in the homes of bereaved persons and at funeral homes, or at churches and graveyards before and after services, are concerning.”

She said that mourners are seeking shelter due to cold weather, which leads to congregations.

“The weather we have this time of year can also result in those lining funeral rooms at times, congregating in doorways at churches and other areas along the route to seek shelter.

She encouraged those who want to pay their condolences, despite “natural emotions”, to do so through social media or by sending a card.

“Every contact increases the risk of transmission of this highly contagious virus. Those wishing to express condolences should do so through social media, online websites, text or card.

“It is vital, despite our natural emotions and desire to be close to and to hug other people, to respect the situation we find ourselves in as we try to convey our sympathies to bereaved families,” Ms Canavan said.

There was a large gathering at a funeral in Ramsgrange, Co Wexford last month. There was also a huge outbreak of Covid-19 in the New Ross electoral area.

Gardaí launched an investigation into the incident, which was described as a superspreader event.

Ireland’s Covid-19 death toll passed the 3,000 mark yesterday after 90 further deaths.

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