GARDAI in Cork have been meeting to plan how to implement the new level 5 Covid-19 restrictions.
Gardaí across the southern garda region discussed the implementation of the plan, as the Cabinet discussed a penal code for fines for breach of some of the regulations.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan said senior gardaí in Cork were given briefings today at a regional level, to discuss aspects such as checkpoints.
Operation Fanacht checkpoints have been in operation in Cork and throughout the country in recent weeks and are expected to continue under the new restrictions.
The operation was initially targeted at ensuring people stayed within their counties, but were also used to urge people not to visit other households.
Under the restrictions, people are not allowed 5kms beyond their home for exercise, and must also work from home where possible.
There will be exemptions to the 5km limit for essential work and other essential purposes.
Today, the Cabinet drew up legislation that will allow gardaí to call to houses to order that house parties are broken up. They will also be able to stop people from entering house parties or indoor gatherings. Under Level 5, there is a ban on indoor gatherings.
Fines will be put in place relating to household gatherings, as well as for breaches of the 5km rule. If efforts by gardaí to break up a house party are not successful, the occupants of the house will be liable for a fine, with a presumption that they are the organisers of the gathering. Failure to wear coverings on public transport and in retail shops will also attract fines.
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought the proposal to Cabinet to allow for fixed charge notices or fines for breaches of regulations.
As a result, changes will have to be made to existing legislation.
Meanwhile, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has contacted all TDs, asking them to oppose the Emergency Health Legislation without substantial review and debate later this week.
The legislation, introduced in March to urgently respond to the spread of Covid-19, is due to expire on November 9.
The council’s executive director, Corkman Liam Herrick, said: “ICCL understands government intends to rush an extension of this legislation through on Thursday evening.
“This flies in the face of the ‘sunset clause’ protections and a commitment to reviewing the legislation before renewing it — which ICCL and opposition TDs secured back in March. It makes a mockery of our democracy.”
“ICCL supports the public health effort and accepts that some restrictions on our rights are necessary in order to protect health and save lives. But government must use these powers in a manner that complies with Ireland’s human rights legal obligations.”