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23 May 2022

"You could have been a carrier..." - Judge issues strong rebuke to Kildare lockdown breakers

Naas Ball gets an overhaul to drive home 'Stay Home Stay Safe' message

A Garda checkpoint at the Naas Ball during Covid-19 lockdowns

Judge Desmond Ziadan has issued a strong rebuke of anybody turning up at Naas District Court accused of flouting local travel restrictions in Kildare during Covid-19 lockdowns.

People who didn’t pay €100 fines for breaches of public health guidelines within the Kildare Garda Division earlier this year have begun to appear in court.

Judge Zaidan addressed several defendants who appeared in court for travelling outside 5km restrictions. 

He said: “There were many people during various Covid-19 lockdowns who weren’t allowed to say goodbye to their loved ones due to Covid-19 restrictions.
“They could not see their loved ones in coffins as the coffins were closed in many cases.
“They were restricted in going to the funerals as there were restrictions to allow a small number of people.
“These people never broke the law despite the sacrifices they were forced to make.”

Speaking to two defendants in particular who were travelling outside a 5km limit to attend a birthday party near Naas, he said:

“You put your own life at risk and you put other lives at risk.”
He added: “Here we are, we are over 90% vaccinated in this country but there is still a fear out there that Covid-19 will come back again and create more lockdowns.
“We are talking about human lives here.”

At the same court sitting, Judge Zaidan addressed a number of young men who travelled outside the 5km limit in place last March to visit a fast food outlet in Naas.
The judge said to one: “You could have been a carrier of Covid-19 and not know it.
“You could be infecting people outside your household or picking it up and bringing it back to your household.
“The people who lost loved ones in nursing homes and couldn't say good bye didn't break the rules.
“Put yourself in the shoes of those people.
“We can’t choose if we get Covid-19 — it chooses us.”
In interactions with members of the public, gardaí always insisted they operated a graduated policing response based on the tradition of policing by consent by engaging, educating, encouraging and, as a last resort, enforcing.

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