Major garda operation launched in support of new public health measures

Only specialist training activity, such as in firearm and armed support, will continue with all other training suspended for a period that begins on November 2 and extends into 2021
Major garda operation launched in support of new public health measures

A Garda checkpoint  as part of Operation Fanacht. Static checkpoints will be supplemented by hundreds of rolling checkpoints under the latest Level 5 restrictions. Picture:  Domnick Walsh © Eye Focus 

Training in the Garda College will be suspended for nine weeks so 260 gardaí can be released to police tough new restrictions which begin today under Level 5 of the Covid-19 plan.

An increasingly visible Garda presence will be a feature of the coming days as householders adapt to the new limits on their movements, with static and rolling checkpoints and high visibility community engagement patrols.

Only specialist training activity, such as in firearm and armed support, will continue with all other training suspended for a period that begins on November 2 and extends into 2021.

Gardai said it would free up 125 attested Garda trainees currently undertaking phase one training in the Garda College as well as 75 Garda trainees not attested undertaking phase one training and 60 gardaí working as tutors/instructors in the Garda College.

Those 260 members join the 45 gardaí who had already been temporarily transferred from the Garda College to the front-line at the start of the pandemic and who have remained on front-line duty.

The scale of the mobilisation means gardaí in administrative roles will, where possible, be re-deployed to operational duties and a 12-hour contingency roster will be extended until March 31 next.

At any one time there will be over 2,500 gardaí on duty, with the primary focus being on checkpoints and high visibility patrolling in support of Level 5 compliance.

From this morning under Operation Fanacht an extensive network of checkpoints will be posted around the country, with the 132 static checkpoints on motorways introduced earlier this month still in place and supplemented by hundreds of rolling checkpoints on main and secondary roads.

Commissioner Drew Harris said, "There was very good compliance by the public with the travel restrictions when they were in place before. It is vital that we see that high level of compliance again this time. The public health advice is clear. This will help save lives.

"In particular, we would ask people to think about their journeys and not exercise or travel outside the 5km limit unless it meets the essential criteria.

"An Garda Síochána is continuing with our graduated response based on our tradition of policing by consent.

"This is a difficult time for everybody, but if we all work together we can reduce the spread of Covid-19 and protect our families, friends and neighbours.”

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