Gardaí use new powers to make arrests during seven incidents over the Easter weekend

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Gardaí use new powers to make arrests during seven incidents over the Easter weekend

A Garda Checkpoint over the weekend

Gardaí arrested and detained people during seven incidents over the Easter weekend for failing to abide by strict regulations introduced to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

No one has been charged with a criminal offence as gardaí will consult with the Director of Public Prosecutions in every case before criminal proceedings are commenced.

Garda Headquarters said there were 150 permanent and 500 mobile checkpoints over the weekend.

Garda Headquarters also said that in 144 cases where potential breaches of the regulations were suspected - such as house parties and non-essential travel - public order, assault, road traffic, and drugs legislation was used instead.

 Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said it was regrettable that a minority of people did not adhere to the regulations.

Gardaí turned people back from beaches and beauty spots, as well as separated and moved people on in parks and public areas.

While the vast majority of people complied with their directions, in seven cases - despite receiving warnings - people did not adhere to the regulations and had to be arrested.

RTÉ.ie reported that gardaí were also called in at least twice by authorised officers, such as doctors, to detain people under the Health Provisions of the Emergency Legislation.

In one case in the southeast, gardaí had to assist an authorised officer and temporarily detain a woman, who was believed to have addiction and mental health issues.

She was brought to a medical facility after she continued to breach the HSE restrictions.

Two people from Limerick on their way to a beach Co Clare were also arrested after they refused to give gardaí their names and addresses.

The couple - who are Polish nationals - were taken to a garda station and later released when their identities were established.

"There was a very high level of compliance with the public health guidelines over the Easter weekend. I want to thank the public for that. This has helped saved lives. We now need people to continue that high level of compliance over the coming weeks. Working together we can reduce the spread of Covid-19," said Commissioner Harris.

"Regrettably, there was a small minority who did not adhere to the guidelines or other legislation and Garda members had no option but to use the regulations or other legislation.

"This demonstrates the need for the regulations not only from an enforcement point of view, but also to support those who are willingly living their lives in line with the public health guidelines," he added.