Gardaí have issued 29 fines so far this week to people for breaching travel restrictions

Gardaí have issued 29 fines so far this week to people for breaching travel restrictions

Checkpoint in Ballinascarthy, West Cork, on January 9. New figures show Gardaí issued 29 Fixed Payment Notices (FPNs) to people so far this week for breaches of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Picture: Andy Gibson.

New figures show Gardaí issued 29 Fixed Payment Notices (FPNs) to people so far this week for breaches of Covid-19 travel restrictions.

From Monday to Wednesday, 29 FPNs were issued and a further eight FPNs have been issued in respect of previous alleged breaches from January 1 to January 10.

At a checkpoint outside Cork city in recent days, one male and one female from different households were stopped while driving and claimed to be travelling to visit an elderly relative. 

"On completion of checkpoint a few minutes later Gardaí patrolled a local amenity car park and found the same driver. 

"He had not travelled to visit an elderly relative, had no reasonable excuse and was outside 5km limit for physical exercise.

"Both car occupants issued FPNs," Gardaí said in a statement

Elsewhere in Cork, a female driver was requested to return home by Gardaí at a checkpoint in Midleton.

Subsequently, she was spotted at a beach outside the 5km limit.

In a statement, Gardaí said the driver "acknowledged she was breaching Covid regulations and offered no further reasonable excuse".

Where breaches of the travel regulations are detected and a person does not comply with a direction of An Garda Síochána, a prosecution can be commenced by means of a €100 Fixed Payment Notice. 

Where more appropriate, An Garda Síochána may seek a direction from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, Gardaí say they are continuing with a graduated policing response to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with their tradition of policing by consent. 

This has seen Gardaí engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.

Gardaí will continue to operate a significant number of static and mobile checkpoints, as well as conduct high visibility patrolling, this weekend focused on non-essential travel.

Commenting today, Deputy Commissioner John Twomey implored people to comply with the Covid-19 restrictions. 

"Our health service is under pressure. Deaths from Covid-19 are rising. ICU admissions are increasing. 

"The best way for people to protect and honour front-line workers is to stay at home. 

"The best way for people to protect their loved ones, their neighbours, and their communities is to stay at home," he said.

"Please only make essential journeys. Exercise within 5km of your home. Minimise the amount of people you meet. 

"Wear a face mask. Maintain social distancing. Wash your hands. If you visit somewhere to exercise and it is crowded then leave. 

"This will all help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect lives,” added Deputy Twomey.

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