MINISTER for Health, Simon Harris announced this evening he would be signing regulations to give An Garda Síochána powers to enforce COVID-19 restrictions to help stop the spread of the virus.
Speaking on RTÉ Primetime this evening the Minister said that he would be signing the regulations to issue the extra powers to the Gardaí following a meeting with An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan, Chief Medical Officer Tony Holohan, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, as well as the Attorney General Seamus Woulfe.
The Minister for Health said the Garda Commissioner did note “the level of compliance is very high, the Irish people are being super” but Harris said he believed it was important for Gardaí to “have these powers in their back pocket”.
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He said, “It is important the Gardaí have these powers in their back pocket, so if they do need enforcement powers, they do have them. I think that’s what most people in this country would expect and want the Gardaí to have.
“They’ll continue their normal strategy of working with the people and assisting the communities. But it is important as I say, that they have them there in their back pocket if they need them.”
The regulations come as fears of people becoming complacent with increased numbers of people congregating and not sticking to the 2km radius of their homes.