Frontline HSE workers in the mid-west now have access to an ‘express lane’ at a garda Covid-19 checkpoint to ensure they can get to or from work without delay.
Gardaí have erected new signs directing HSE staff and heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers into a lane where they can move through the checkpoint without delay.
The initiative follows recent discussions with Gardaí from the Clare division and HSE management in the mid-west.
The checkpoint, which is in place between 7.00am and 9.00pm daily, is located close to junction 5 on the N18 near Cratloe Co Clare, one of the main access routes into the county.
There are several other similar checkpoints in the county as well as dozens of others mounted for shorter periods at different locations during the day and night.
When a motorist is stopped they are asked to confirm the purpose of their travel. If Gardaí are not satisfied that their journey is essential, they are asked to exit the dual-carriageway at junction 5 and return home.
As the checkpoint is on a main route and can result in tailbacks at peak times, Gardaí are now providing an ‘express lane’ to facilitate a faster journey for HSE staff in particular.
HSE workers can access the lane where they are asked to produce their HSE identification. Staff can they can proceed through the checkpoint without delay.
The route is used by staff returning home to Clare from University Hospital Limerick and other HSE facilities in Limerick as well as those travelling to work in Clare.
Inspector Paul Slattery, head of the Roads Policing Unit in Clare, said: “We have discussions with the HSE and other agencies on a daily basis.
"One of the issues that arose in our discussions with the HSE was the importance of HSE doctors, nurses and other frontline HSE staff being able to get to work on time. We also want to ensure they get home without delay after working on the frontline all day.
“The checkpoint on the N18 can be particularly busy at times and we don’t want to see HSE workers sitting in traffic when they could be on their way to or from work. We now have signs directing HSE staff and HGV drivers into a dedicated lane where Gardaí can facilitate their journey promptly,” Inspector Slattery said.