Call for all-island approach to policing coronavirus

Call for all-island approach to policing coronavirus

Additional reporting by Digital Desk staff

The president of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Cormac Moylan has said there needs to be an all-island approach when policing Covid-19. "There is two jurisdictions on this island, but there is one virus. And this virus it knows no boundaries - so I think there is a need for a kind of an all-island approach.”

His comment follows the revelation that a loophole in the law means people from Northern Ireland travelling to the Republic on day trips cannot be arrested.

"We're unable to use these powers for people coming from Northern Ireland who are travelling beyond 2km from their place of residence,” Sgt Moylan told Newstalk Breakfast.

"But as the residence is not in this jurisdiction it creates an issue for the members - particularly in the border counties - in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Louth.

"It is important to say that the vast, vast majority of instances, people are understanding and adhering to instructions and the guidance that's been given. That's what we're hearing from our members that are out there.

As it stands we can't return visitors from Northern Ireland back across the border - and this may change before the weekend. But the concept that's being used on the ground - and it's being used across the border as well - is a concept of engage, explain, encourage and enforce.

"An odd time we have to get into the explain concept and encourage concept, not that often. But when you try to explain to somebody and you appeal to their better instincts in relation to the risks -that's where most of it is at".

"There is two jurisdictions on this island, but there is one virus. And this virus it knows no boundaries - so I think there is a need for a kind of an all-island approach.

"But that's beyond from our side, from our representation of the sergeants and inspectors around the country that we represent. That's a Government issue for them to sort out and for them to handle.

"But we would love to see that we would have something in place that would give people a little bit more surefootedness on this issue.”

It comes as the North's Deputy First Minister called on people from the North not to exploit the 'loophole' in the laws.

Sinn Fein's Michelle O'Neill is asking people to stay at home.

"We all need to be staying at home. That's what the public health message is telling us to do and that's what we need to be doing," she said.

"This is not a time for us travelling to the beach. We have to very strictly follow the rules because we're trying to save lives.

"Can I ask people not to be travelling to Donegal, not to be travelling to anywhere else, just to stay at home and follow that public health advice."

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