ISL Video: New regulations on #COVID19 from Minister of Health
8th April 2020
Minister for Health Simon Harris has signed regulations granting the Garda the powers to enforce sweeping restrictions on public movement and bring criminal prosecutions against those failing to comply on Tuesday night – 7th April 2020.
The new powers were included in the emergency coronavirus legislation passed two weeks ago but only became active once the Minister signed them into use. Until now gardaí have been requesting rather than ordering people to comply with the guidelines.
Mr Harris has activated the regulations following a meeting with the Garda Commissioner and the Attorney General on Tuesday. It is understood signing of the regulations was delayed as the Government’s lawyers worked out the precise wording and extent of the powers.
Gardaí now have the power to arrest and detain those who breach the restrictions. This includes those found exercising beyond 2km from their homes or those travelling for non-essential reasons.
Convictions will result in a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a fine of €2,500.
Gardaí also have the power to assist the HSE in detaining someone judged to be at risk of spreading the virus who refuses to self isolate. Those refusing to comply with such orders face up to three months in prison.
The measures were enacted on Tuesday amid worries the fine weather will attract many people to public spaces over the coming bank holiday weekend.
Garda sources say the intention will be to only use the enforcement powers as a last resort, e.g. if someone refuses to return home when directed or are repeatedly caught breaking the regulations.
SOURCE: Irish Times 7th April 2020