IN supporting the
COVID-19 public health guidelines, An Garda Síochána
has adopted a graduated policing response based on
its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen
members of An Garda Síochána engage, educate,
encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
During this time, Gardaí have interacted with
hundreds of thousands of people while on patrol or
at checkpoints. The vast majority were adhering to
the public health guidelines.
In what continues to be a small minority of cases
across the country, despite receiving a number of
warnings, some individuals were still not willing to
take steps to comply with the public health
From 8 April, when the regulations came into effect
until 16 May 2020, Gardaí have invoked the
regulations 241 times.
As per Garda policy, in all cases where arrests were
made under the regulations, Gardaí consulted with
the Director of Public Prosecutions on the decision
In addition, pre-existing enforcement powers were
used in 1,621 incidents where other offences were
disclosed in the course of COVID-19 operations.
These range from incidents such as drink driving or
disqualified drivers detected at checkpoints, to
drugs and weapons seizures, to public order
The number of incidents involving other suspected
crimes continues to far exceed the number of cases
involving only breaches of Government restrictions.
Commissioner Drew Harris said, "There has been a
high level of compliance with the public health
guidelines to date. I want to thank the public for
that. But, from this week, the country is entering
another critical phase. It is vital that we all
continue to play our part in reducing the spreading
of COVID-19 by adhering to the updated public health
From 8 April until 16 May 2020 inclusive, there were
70 incidents of spitting and/or coughing against
members of An Garda Síochána and Gardaí had to use
anti-spit guards 57 times.
Commissioner Harris said, "Regrettably, these
reprehensible spitting and coughing attacks on our
personnel continue. These are a significant health
and safety risk to our members in the current
environment. We must protect them from such