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covid clampdown Government announces new Covid-19 fines to come into effect over the next week

  • People who organise house parties or outside gatherings in breach of regulations could face a fine of €500.

  • Those who fail to comply with a garda direction to disperse gatherings could face a fine of up to €1,000 and one month in prison.

  • Not wearing a face covering on public transport or in shops will carry an €80 fine.

  • Anyone who fails to pay these new fixed penalty notices within 28 days can be prosecuted in the courts.

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Gardai on Grafton Street

Gardai on Grafton Street

Gardai on Grafton Street

PEOPLE who attend house parties in breach of Covid regulations will be hit with fines of €150, while anyone caught not wearing a mask in a shop or on public transport will face an €80 penalty, the Government has announced.

A new fines system, to be enforced by An Garda Síochána and come into effect over the next week, has been announced by the Departments of Health and Justice a month after TDs and Senators passed legislation to bring in the new measures.

Under the new fines system, people who organise house parties in breach of the current Covid regulations that ban such gatherings could face a fine of €500.

Those who fail to comply with a garda direction to disperse such gatherings could face a fine of up to €1,000 and one month in prison.

Gardaí will now have powers to direct people to leave the vicinity of a private home if they have a reasonable suspicion that an event in contravention of regulations is going on. They may also direct the occupier to ensure all people at such an event, other than those residing in the private home, leave it.

However, the Government has stressed that gardaí do not have powers to enter a dwelling under these provisions and can only show up at the front door of a private home to make these requests.

Organising an event outside a private dwelling in breach of Covid regulations will also carry a €500 fine.

Not wearing a face covering on public transport will carry an €80 fine, while not wearing one in certain retail outlets will also carry an €80 fine.

Anyone who fails to pay these new fixed penalty notices within 28 days can be prosecuted in the courts.

The new system of fines was published by the Government on Tuesday nearly a month after legislation to introduce them was passed by the Oireachtas and signed into law by the President.

The Department of Health said that Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, Finance minister Paschal Donohoe and Tourism and Media Minister Catherine Martin were among those consulted before Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed the new regulations.

The fixed penalty notices will be enforced by An Garda Síochána for the duration for the pandemic and will be adjusted if restrictions are eased.

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The Government said that prior to the introduction of this new system the only enforcement powers available to gardaí were penal provisions under the 1947 Health Act carrying a maximum fine of €2,500 and up to six months in prison on conviction.

“The Government decided that a more flexible and proportionate system of sanctions was required for offences and breaches of the regulations,” a statement said.

It added: “The vast majority of Irish people have followed the guidance and advice. Unfortunately, there is a small cohort of people who are ignoring the advice, ignoring the guidance, and putting themselves and others at risk.

"Their activities can be dangerous from a Covid-19 perspective, and can put their communities at risk.”

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