Gardaí to investigate organisers of anti-lockdown rally in Donegal

Gardaí to investigate organisers of anti-lockdown rally in Donegal

In a statement this evening, Gardaí said an investigation is underway to identify the organisers of the gathering. Picture: Denis Minihane.

Gardaí have begun an investigation to identify the organisers of an anti-lockdown demonstration in Letterkenny, Co Donegal this afternoon. 

At roughly 2pm a demonstration took place protesting the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in place in the county. 

Dozens of protestors gathered in the Market Square area of the town and did not appear to be observing social distancing or wearing face coverings. 

The rally was held less than a day after the county entered a Level Three lockdown following an increase in the two-week incident rate for coronavirus infections. 

According to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC), the incident rate stands at 148 per 100,000 in the last 14 days. 

In a statement this evening, Gardaí said an investigation is underway to identify the organisers of the gathering. 

It is a penal offence under the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (No 5) Regulations 2020 to organise a public gathering since the act came into effect on September 19, 2020. Under regulation 15 of the act: "A person shall not organise, or cause to be organised, a relevant event in a relevant county."

Gardaí said they are not investigating breaches of public health regulations such as a failure to social distance or wear a face mask in public as they are non-penal offences. 

Yesterday, Gardaí announced the commencement of Operation Fannacht to support public health regulations in Co Donegal as a Level Three lockdown came into effect. 

As part of this operation, checkpoints were established to ensure compliance and a high visibility level of Gardaí in public amenities in the nearby counties of Sligo and Leitrim was announced.

 

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