BREAKING: Gardaí to begin major policing operation to ensure public compliance with Covid-19 restrictions

Patrols began at 7pm on Friday evening

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Breaking: Gardaí to begin major policing operation to ensure public compliance with Covid-19 restrictions

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An Garda Síochána has said in a statement this evening that it has started a major nationwide policing operation focused on supporting public compliance with public health measures over this weekend.

Following the announcement this evening by An Taoiseach of the necessity for people to undertake a range of public health measures to help stop the spread of Covid-19, there will be high visibility patrolling by Garda members across the country during the weekend. The focus of this activity will be on encouraging people to adhere to public health measures as announced by An Taoiseach, said the statement.

The policing operation runs from 7pm tonight until 7am on Monday morning (March 30) and will involve thousands of Gardaí on foot, bike and mobile patrols.

While An Garda Síochána will seek to encourage people to maintain the necessary public health measures, it will intervene where venues/ outlets are not in compliance or where groups of people are not adhering to recommended measures.

"An Garda Síochána acknowledges that the vast majority of the public are being responsible and making great efforts to implementing public health measures including social distancing guidelines, this includes staying active as a family unit and availing of fresh air and exercise," said the statement.

"However, the presence of large crowds in any one area reduces the effective impact of social distancing.  

"An Garda Síochána asks people and families to continue to be responsible, not to attend popular locations for overly long periods and where the numbers of persons starts to increase at any location to leave such areas."

Announcing An Garda Síochána’s operation for this weekend Commissioner Drew Harris said, "An Garda Síochána’s priority is keeping people safe and that will continue this weekend. There will be a major policing plan across the country with high visibility of Garda members at key locations.

"It is vital that people adhere to the social distancing guidelines. This will reduce the spread of Covid-19 and save lives. The vast majority of people are complying with the guidelines and we want that to continue this weekend. By all of us working together, we can flatten the curve and keep our loved ones safe.”

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, "These high visibility patrols are to provide re-assurance and social distancing advice to the public. 

"Garda members will pro-actively engage positively with people. An Garda Síochána will police as it has always done with the consent of the people. It is in everybody’s interest that people comply with these measures.”