Michael Staines
Michael Staines

12.40 28 Mar 2020


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Gardaí have begun “one of the biggest mobilisations” the organisation has seen since its foundation.

Officers are setting up checkpoints around the country today to make sure people are not making non-essential journeys through the COVID-19 lockdown.

It comes after the Government ordered everyone in the country to stay at home excepting limited circumstances in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

People can go outside to shop for essential items, pick up medicine, attend medical appointments, exercise within 2km of their homes or for vital family reasons.

Travel is allowed for essential workers but all social gatherings are banned.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Garda Commissioner Drew Harris inspects the 319 new Gardaí who are today leaving Templemore for front-line duty, 19-03-2020. Image: Mark Condren/PA Wire/PA Images

"Huge operation"

Thousands of Gardaí are patrolling streets today to make sure people are sticking to the guidelines.

Speaking at Garda HQ this morning, Commissioner Drew Harris said the vast majority of people will follow the guidelines.

“The difficulty is there will be people in our society who make poor choices,” he said.

“But they very often make poor choices and there is a whole array of powers available to members of An Garda Síochana to deal with individuals.

“We will not be found wanting in doing so. We will receive regulations very shortly and we will also be in a position then to enforce those as well.”

He said the new legislation will outline any sanctions facing people who break the restrictions.

Coronavirus COVID-19 Seanad Garda Commissioner Drew Harris inspects the 319 new Gardaí who are today leaving Templemore for front-line duty, 19-03-2020. Image: Mark Condren/PA Wire/PA Images

Essential workers

Meanwhile, Commissioner Harris said Gardaí will ask essential workers to produce ID and a description of what their job is.

“There are a large set of essential workers in this country providing all sorts of very important services beyond ourselves and the other emergency services,

“Food supply industry, food workers and others who are providing vital services.

“So, there will still be a lot of people moving to work and we will manage that in conjunction with Government regulations and Government direction.”

He said that the Gardaí ability to tackle every day and organised crime is still intact despite the extra mobilisation.


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