Gardaí issue over 5,000 Covid-19 fines for non-essential travel

Gardaí issue over 5,000 Covid-19 fines for non-essential travel

Gardaí man a Covid-19 Checkpoint at the entrance to Terminal 2, Dublin Airport. Picture: Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Gardaí have issued over 5,000 fines for non-essential travel, according to the latest figures. 

In 4,911 of these instances, people were hit with €100 fines for non-essential travel around the country. 

A further 132 people received €500 fines for undertaking non-essential journeys to airports and ports

Fines for non-essential cross-border travel in Ireland came into operation this past Monday, February 8. 

Since then, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) data has shown that traffic volumes in and around the Northern Ireland border dropped by about 13% when compared to last week's average.

Gardaí say the total number of fines for cross-border travel to date is currently being collated and will be published in due course.

Gardaí have stressed that travel restrictions do not apply in the case of domestic violence or to escape the risk of harm, whether to the person or to another person.

Anyone who has been the victim of an incident of sexual or domestic crime, irrespective of whether any public health regulations have been breached, has been urged to contact gardaí.

House party fines and gatherings

Also included in the latest Covid-19 policing update are figures on penalties issued around house parties held in contravention of public health guidelines. 

Gardaí say they have also handed out over 614 fines to people found to have organised and attended house parties – 116 fines of €500 were issued to house party organisers, and 498 fines of €100 to people who attended them.

Over the last few days, gardaí also say they have attended numerous breaches of public health regulations at licensed premises, restaurants, retail outlets, hair and beauty salons, as well as at other premises.

Following consultation with the DPP, gardaí say three prosecutions are being taken against retail premises. 

A further 95 prosecutions of licensed premises have been directed, with 44 of these having court dates.

An Garda Síochána has continued to investigate potential breaches of public health regulations associated with funerals (currently maximum 10 mourners) and weddings (currently maximum six attendees at wedding reception)

127 fines of €80 each were also issued to people not wearing appropriate face coverings.

Gardaí say the majority of these fines were issued in shops and supermarkets, and have reminded the public the wearing of face masks is still required in all retail premises.

Payment of Covid-related fines

Anyone hit with a Covid-19-related fine has 28 days to pay it.

Gardaí say a process had now been put place with the Courts Service and anyone who fails to pay their fine within 28 days will receive a court date shortly after.  

Failure to pay these Fixed Payment Notices (FPNs) can result in a conviction for a first offence in the District Court, a fine of €1,000 and/or imprisonment. 

Six people are due before District Courts in March 2021 for non-payment of a Covid-19 fine. 

These individuals will appear before District Courts in Dublin (2), Cork, Meath, Waterford and Limerick.

This weekend

Gardaí say countrywide checkpoints and high visibility patrols at public amenities across the country will continue over the coming weekend.

They have advised the public to plan their activities over the weekend to take account of the fact that people are still only allowed to exercise within 5km of their home.

Speaking on Friday, Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey commended those who have continued to "do the right things" like staying home, limiting contacts, and only making essential journeys. 

We know it is hard. We know it has meant huge sacrifices. We thank them for this and ask people to continue to do the right things.

However, Mr Twomey noted there were still some people flouting regulations and "putting themselves, their families, their friends and their colleagues at risk of getting Covid-19". 

"Everybody in this society has an individual and collective responsibility to play their part in saving lives and reducing serious illness. 

"It is long past time for those who are not playing their part to do so,” he added.

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