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Gardaí get the power to issue on-the-spot fines of €100

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Gardaí can now hand out on-the-spot fines of €100 to people who are found travelling beyond the 5km Covid travel limit and refuse to turn back.

Gardaí can prosecute breaches of travel restrictions introduced during Level 5 with a fixed charge notice.

Garda Headquarters yesterday announced that a person who breaches travel regulations, and fails to comply with an officer's directions, can be prosecuted.

This includes an on-the-spot fine of €100 but in other cases directions may be taken from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Gardaí have escalated their policing response after beauty spots across the country were packed over the weekend with visitors outside their 5km limit.

The fixed-charge notices can be now be handed out under emergency health legislation measures which state that a person shall not leave their place of residence 'without reasonable excuse'.

Gardaí say they are continuing to police by consent and enforcement is a last resort.

Assistant Commissioner John Twomey, who oversees the force's Policing and Security, said: "An Garda Síochána continues to see significant compliance by the public with Public Health Regulations, however we also continue to see some activity which is in contravention of these regulations introduced to stop the current spread of Covid-19 and protect our communities.

"I appeal to every person without a reasonable excuse for travel - stay at home. This is your duty as a citizen and will save lives and support our frontline services, nurses, doctors, hospital staff and my Garda colleagues at this time," he added.

Travelling beyond the 5km is permitted in certain instances, including work-related travel for essential services, medical appointments and visiting a person within your bubble.

Excuse

Gardaí have also repeatedly emphasised that the 5km limit does not apply to victims of domestic violence who are seeking help.

A number of people have already been prosecuted for breaching Covid-19 travel restrictions.

In Leitrim, a man was jailed for two months for breaching lockdown travel restrictions without a reasonable excuse.

A man in Dublin was jailed for 30 days for the same offence, while in Tipperary a man was given a €400 fine. Other prosecutions in Sligo, Kildare and Cavan have resulted in fines ranging between €150 and €300.


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