The general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), Antoinette Cunningham has called for clarification of what the force is being asked to do with regard to compliance with Level 3 restrictions.
Speaking onthis morning, Ms Cunningham asked why details of enforcement measures were not included for each level of the Living with Covid plan.
If such details had been included, she said, it would mean the public and the gardaí "would know what would happen as each level was introduced."
“At midnight our members will policing Level 3 restrictions nationwide - we have to manage Government expectation and public expectation yet we don’t know what’s expected off us and what powers we will actually have?” @antoabs speaking to @morningireland— AGSI (@AGSI_Ireland) October 6, 2020
She said: "Increased visibility of gardaí was always positive, but the force would prefer to continue to police by consent."
Responding to criticism of the role of gardaí during recent anti-mask protests, Ms Cunningham pointed out that the right to protest peacefully remained, but there was the question of whether it was appropriate for that to happen during a national pandemic.
She said: “We have to manage the situation as best we can.”
Ms Cunningham urged the public to act responsibly.
She said that there was an expectation that the gardaí could “go in and break up” such protests, but they had the power only to deal with the organisers not those attending such events.
"Different situations will require a graduated garda response," she added.