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New social distancing laws used 34 times by gardai

Garda said there were an additional 405 incidents that were initially treated as potential breaches of the regulations, but included other breaches

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Members of An Garda maintain social distancing in Dublin’s city centre as they patrol (PA)

Members of An Garda maintain social distancing in Dublin’s city centre as they patrol (PA)

Members of An Garda maintain social distancing in Dublin’s city centre as they patrol (PA)

Gardai have invoked new coronavirus regulations 34 times to enforce social distancing in Ireland.

On two of the occasions, Garda members were acting on instruction from a medical professional.

Some of the incidents are already being dealt with by the courts.

The Garda said there were an additional 405 incidents that were initially treated as potential breaches of the regulations but, as they unfolded, other offences were detected.

These were then dealt with using long-standing legislation.

Gardai are engaging with a large amount of people every day and in the vast majority of cases they are complying with the public health guidelinesCommissioner Drew Harris

They included public order, assault, road traffic and drugs offences and were linked to incidents involving house/street parties, gatherings beyond the family unit and non-essential travel.

The Garda said members of the force had interacted with hundreds of thousands of people since the regulations came into force earlier this month and compliance levels were high.

The latest figures cover the period from the introduction of the powers on April 8 up to and including April 18.

Commissioner Drew Harris said: “An Garda Siochana’s role is to keep people safe through community engagement, particularly with the vulnerable, and our tradition of policing by consent.

“In that spirit, gardai are engaging with a large amount of people every day and in the vast majority of cases they are complying with the public health guidelines.

“It is vital this continues because it will help save lives. I want to thank the public for this and also the great support they are giving to our members every day.

“Unfortunately, there are people who did not adhere to the guidelines and gardai had no option but to use the regulations or other legislation. It should be stressed though that this is a tiny proportion of the people we have engaged with over this time.

“I would like to take this opportunity to offer my sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19 and to recognise the sacrifices that people adhering to the guidelines are making in playing their part in protecting others.

“It is for those reasons that there is a collective and individual responsibility to maintain compliance with the public health guidelines.”

PA