New Emergency Powers for An Garda Síochána
An Garda Síochána
The new laws will give An Garda Síochána the power to issue specific fines for breaches of social distancing and potentially detain people who are refusing to self-isolate. The regulations provide that people should not leave their home without a reasonable excuse and also prohibit people from holding or attending at any event where people would gather for any purpose other than one related to the reasons for which you are allowed to leave your home.
As the Easter holiday weekend, fast approaches Commissioner Drew Harris warned that those who are currently in holiday homes across the country “must remain there indefinitely and not return to their main homes, or they will be breaching new regulations in force from today”.
At the moment we are all asked to stay at home, except to shop for essential goods, to provide essential care, or to get some exercise within 2km of our homes. (Click HERE to see how far 2k is from where you live).
Minister for Health Simon Harris said ”
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has said there will be no change in the current garda strategy and that new emergency powers afforded to An Garda Síochána from today will only be used as a “last recourse” for those who flout emergency public health measures.
So what are the new powers of An Garda Síochána
- The law allows that a person who refuses to comply with an instruction by a garda who is seeking to impose the social distancing rules, is guilty of an offence that can lead to a prison sentence of up to six months.
- The new law also allows for the shutting down of gatherings or events, including religious gatherings, and for ordering groups in certain areas to stay in their homes, or other places, if necessary.
- A person who refuses to self-isolate after a medical recommendation that they should do so can be convicted of an offence that will have a maximum penalty of three months in prison.
- Gardaí may also, working at the request of health or other officials, take a person to a particular place, or break and enter a particular property.