'Staying home this St Patrick’s Day is the best thing people can do for their country': Gardaí urge people not to attend parties and protests

'Staying home this St Patrick’s Day is the best thing people can do for their country': Gardaí urge people not to attend parties and protests

In a statement the force said that despite "constant and consistent public health advice, An Garda Síochána continues to find people gathering in large groups at social occasions and at house parties. Such events put those attending, and everyone they meet afterwards, at risk of catching Covid-19."

Gardaí are advising people to stay home to stay safe this St Patrick’s Day and avoid large gatherings and house parties.

In a statement the force said that despite "constant and consistent public health advice, An Garda Síochána continues to find people gathering in large groups at social occasions and at house parties. Such events put those attending, and everyone they meet afterwards, at risk of catching Covid-19."

As of March 12 2021, An Garda Síochána had issued 429 €500 fines for organising a house party and 1,677 €150 fines for attending a house party.

More than 2,500 gardaí will be on duty across the country this St Patrick's Day at any given time.

They will be engaged in high visibility patrolling at public amenities; conducting checkpoints focused on non-essential travel and people exercising outside 5km of their home; road safety activity; managing any large gatherings that may occur, and providing support for the vulnerable including victims of domestic abuse, according to a statement.

They have highlighted that multiple protest events are being planned on social media by disparate groups in different locations in Dublin city centre, and are advising the public to refrain from any non-essential journeys to the city centre on the day as restrictions and cordons will be in place that may hinder easy movement around the city.

"In relation to these protest events, a policing plan is in place and An Garda Síochána will be deploying a large number of personnel supported by national units such as the dog unit, the mounted unit, air support, and public order.

"In addition, checkpoints will be in place on arterial routes into the city and checks will be conducted on public transport over the course of St Patrick’s Day," gardaí say.

An Garda Síochána have asked people not to organise or attend such protests.

The force has highlighed again the use of its 4Es approach – engaging, explaining, and encouraging with enforcement a last resort, and they said that any Garda activity in relation to evolving events will be in line with this graduated policing response taking into account public health regulations and advice.

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, Anne Marie McMahon said, "While it won’t be a normal St Patrick’s Day, we can still all enjoy the day safely at home.

"Staying home this St Patrick’s Day is the best thing people can do for their country and the best thing they can do for the people they know and love.” 

An Garda Síochána is again reminding people you can’t travel more than 5km to a location to exercise, and when visiting amenities within 5km of your home please park legally.

They have also highlighted that both drivers and their adult passengers found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations can be fined. This is also the case for adults in groups undertaking activities such as cycling or walking – every adult in such a group can be fined.

Travel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape a risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person.

An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to any person who may have been the victim of an incident of sexual or domestic crime "irrespective of whether you may have been on breach of any public health regulations, for instance by attending a house party, An Garda Síochána is here to assist and support you, please report all such incidents".

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