sundaylife

| 9.4°C Belfast

Garda 'have no powers to arrest day-trippers' from Northern Ireland

Close

Gardai mount coronavirus checkpoints on the border at Carrickarnon, Co Louth Niall Carson/PA Wire

Gardai mount coronavirus checkpoints on the border at Carrickarnon, Co Louth Niall Carson/PA Wire

PA

Gardai mount coronavirus checkpoints on the border at Carrickarnon, Co Louth Niall Carson/PA Wire

Garda headquarters in Dublin has told officers that Covid-19 restrictions do not apply to people on day trips from Northern Ireland, RTE reported on Saturday night.

Officers in border counties such as Donegal have been ordered not to arrest anyone from Northern Ireland for suspected breaches of the coronavirus regulations because they do not have the power to do so under the emergency legislation introduced by the Irish Government.

RTE News said it had learned that there is a loophole in the regulations signed by the Irish Health Minister Simon Harris which means they do not apply to people who live outside the State.

But the PSNI is able to enforce restrictions here, meaning they could stop any day trippers making their way across the border and fine them while they are in Northern Ireland.

Close

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris

PA

Irish Health Minister Simon Harris

The regulations signed by the Irish Minister for Health just before Easter weekend stated that the restrictions on movement applied to people "whose place of residence is located within a relevant geographical location" and that a place of residence means "a person's home".

A senior Garda officer serving on the border reportedly noticed that people from Northern Ireland do not live in a geographical location to which Irish law can apply and sought clarification from Garda headquarters.

Garda headquarters recognised this issue which is said to have led to their advice to officers.

However, the Garda Commissioner said that if a person from Northern Ireland travels to a holiday home in the Republic, then that becomes their place of residence and the legislation applies.

Garda HQ has declined to comment on the report but urged everyone resident or visiting to adhere to the public health guidelines to protect themselves and others from Covid-19.

Belfast Telegraph