CORK city’s top cop is urging people not to attend gatherings or house parties today to mark St Patrick’s Day.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin revealed that gardaí in Cork city have handed out the highest number of on-the-spot fines in the country for breaches of Covid-19 regulations. Up to last Friday 1,489 fine notices had been issued.
He was speaking as today marks the second St Patrick’s Day without parades or festivals because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These events put not just those attending but also those they meet afterwards at risk of Covid-19.”
He added: “We are asking people not to attend house parties, street parties or protests. Up to March 12, we have issued 1,489 fine notices in Cork city – the highest in the country. A lot of them would have been in relation to parties and breaches of the 5km limit.”
While acknowledging that the rate of Covid-19 in Cork has fallen, he stressed that there are concerns again about increasing figures and added: “We have to be careful.”
Gardaí will be out in force today across Cork and throughout the country, to prevent people from gathering.
Chief Supt McPolin said gardaí in Cork will be targeting public amenities, as well as enforcing road safety legislation.
He pointed out that penalties for flouting the 5km are not just applicable to drivers but also to adult passengers.
At present, under level 5 restrictions, no visitors are permitted in private homes or gardens except for essential family reasons such as providing care to children, elderly or vulnerable people, or as part of a support bubble.
Level 5 restrictions are set to remain in place until at least April 5.
€100 fines are in place for travelling beyond 5km, while the fine for attending an indoor gathering is €150. Organisation of a gathering can result in a €500 fine.
Nationally, An Garda Síochána had issued 429 €500 fines for organising a house party and 1,677 €150 fines for attending a house party up to last Friday.
Gardaí are asking motorists visiting amenities within 5km of their home to park legally.
Chief Supt McPolin said that illegal parking can hinder access by emergency services and could put lives at risk. He warned that people who illegally park are at risk of having their cars towed and impounded.