Gardaí will ask Government for enforcement powers as part of their response to Covid-19 regulations if they need them, Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris said, after garda representative bodies expressed concerns.
Commissioner Harris made the comment as gardaí launch a nationwide Operation Fanacht campaign to ensure people are observing the level 3 restrictions imposed by the government.
Commissioner Harris said that enforcement was required just 342 times out of thousands of interactions with the public earlier on in the pandemic.
He said that gardaí will ask for more powers if they find that people are not adhering to restrictions after being encouraged and advised by gardaí.
"If we see our efforts being thwarted by public behaviour, then we will have to inform the government about that," he said.
He said there will be 132 checkpoint locations across the country, with around 2,500 gardaí on duty at any one time.
Earlier today, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, Antoinette Cunningham, called for immediate and urgent clarification of comments made by the Taoiseach Mícheál Martin about stepping up measures to increase compliance by the public.
“At midnight our members will be policing Level 3 restrictions nationwide," she said. "We have to manage Government expectation alongside public expectation yet we don’t know what’s expected off us and what powers we will actually have.
"On behalf of our members, AGSI is seeking guidance on any amended enforcement measures."
The association says its members would like to see the continuation of policing by consent and that they enjoy public support and would not like to see this negatively affected in any way.
Ms Cunningham says AGSI was “surprised that in developing the Living with COVID Plan that enforcement measures for each stage of the plan were not developed, and therefore managing public expectation about what can happen at each stage.”