Just two people face charges for breaking travel restrictions

Two people who were stopped at garda checkpoints face potential prosecution for breaking level 5 travel restrictions
Just two people face charges for breaking travel restrictions

A Garda checkpoint on the N22 near The Ovens Bar, Ovens, Co Cork at the western end of the Ballincollig bypass. Picture: Larry Cummins

The latest Garda figures show that just two people face potential prosecution for breaking travel restrictions since the Level 5 lockdown was introduced. 

Since Level 5 was introduced on October 22, there have been 132 checkpoints on major roads and approximately 1,000 checkpoints on secondary and minor roads per day.

There have only been two incidents where individuals were suspected of breaching travel restrictions, and files were sent to the DPP for potential charges to be brought.

Traffic volumes have fallen by around 50% since the latest restriction came into force.

There has been one occasion where an incident of not wearing a face mask resulted in a file being sent to the DPP. 

In total, there have only been eight incidents of face mask non-compliance criminally investigated so far.

Nobody has been caught for failing to provide contact-tracing details on airplane landing forms since last Wednesday, so the total amount of breaches in relation to this restriction remains at three.

There have been six incidents where retail premises have continued with suspected breaches after initial warnings.

In each of these cases, a file will be sent to the DPP.

However, the gardaí say the vast majority of retailers are compliant, and continued compliance will be verified with follow-up inspections.

Other offences

Other offences not related to Covid have also been uncovered during roadside checkpoints. 

In total, there have been 71 crimes recorded, mainly road traffic and drug-related.

Three separate drivers were arrested at a checkpoint in Meath for driving under the influence. Two were suspected of taking cannabis, and one was believed to be drunk.

Three further arrests for intoxicated driving were made in Cavan and one in Monaghan in relation to cocaine.

Three cars seized at a checkpoint in Kildare had a "failed dangerous" NCT rating, and no repairs had been carried out.

An unaccompanied L-plate driver, who had been driving on an expired learner permit for 15 years, also had a car seized. 

This was one of six cars seized from unaccompanied learner drivers at the Kildare checkpoint.

A separate driver was stopped at a checkpoint on the N7 road for intoxicated driving. 

When brought back to the station, it was revealed that he had an outstanding European Arrest Warrant for a number of serious offences.

There was also a van driver who was stopped at a checkpoint who was disqualified from driving and had no insurance or driving licence.

A tractor driver, stopped in Meath, was found to have no tax, with the disc expired for over seven years.

A learner driver, driving unaccompanied, was also stopped at a checkpoint in Cork and their car was seized. A fixed charge penalty notice will follow.

Gardaí believe there are early indications that some categories of crime, such as burglary, have fallen since the introduction of Level 5 restrictions.

Other crimes, such as drug offences, remain at similar levels.

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