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COVID CLAMPDOWN Gardaí to be given additional powers to break up house parties and issue fines

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Gardaí (stock)

Gardaí (stock)

Gardaí (stock)

Gardaí are to be given new powers which will allow them call to homes and order that house parties are broken up.

They will also be given the power to stop people from entering house parties or indoor gatherings which are banned under the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions.

Gardaí will not be legally permitted to enter a home but they will be able to issue fines to the occupier of a house where an illegal party is taking place.

The new system of fines is being debated by the Cabinet this morning with the view to giving An Garda Siochana new powers to police restrictions.

The new legislation which will be published later today will make it an offence to organise or manage a house party or an indoor event that is in breach of public health regulations.

Once enacted, gardaí will have the legal authority to call to a home or other indoor venue and ask those present to disperse.

If those present refuse to comply with a garda request to leave the gathering, those living in the house will automatically be given a fine.

Under the new law, it will be presumed the occupier is the organiser, unless proved otherwise, and they will be issued with a fixed charge notice.

The exact amount for the fine is still being considered.

Gardaí will also have the power to issue fines to those suspected of seeking to attend a house party.

If gardaí suspect someone is on their way to a house party or are in the vicinity of a house party which is about to begin they can direct them to leave the area in a peaceful manner.

If the individual refuses to leave, gardaí can issue them with an automatic fine.

The new fines were developed by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

The Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has previously said the force does not need more powers to enforce Government regulations as he would prefer to police by consent.

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