People should carry ‘evidence’ of travel reasons if exceeding 2km limit
Garda chief Drew Harris says the ‘vast majority of citizens are compliant’ with Covid-19 rules
However, on the second day of the measures restricting people to their homes in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Mr Harris said the new rules had been “very well received” by members of the public.“What we’ve observed is that the vast, vast majority of our citizens are compliant. So far so good.”
Mr Harris said people could have legitimate reasons to be away from home, including for “essential working, shopping, pharmacy and medical appointments”.However, those more than 2km from their home for those reasons should have some evidence with them to explain why they are “out and about”. This could include an appointment card or a text confirming a medical appointment among other examples.
Mr Harris made his remarks during an interview with the This Week programme on RTÉ Radio 1 and while a high-visibility Garda operation, involving thousands of members, was underway across the Republic.Under the operation, people in their cars or out exercising are being stopped and asked about their movements. If they are found to be acting outside the latest public health advice, to stay at home save for specific circumstances, they are being told to return to their homes.
At some locations where members of the public had flocked last weekend, including beeches, parks and other popular leisure spots, gardaí have taken up position and are turning people away.Mr Harris said the Garda was still waiting for new regulations to come into effect that would give members of the force the power to intervene when people deliberately contravened the Covid-19 measures.
“Obviously we will deal with these matters in a graduated response. We will wish to inform people and persuade them to behave properly,” he said.“But if they don’t, the powers available ultimately; we can make arrests when people aren’t compliant, and that can lead to prosecutions.”
People have been told to stay at home in virtually all circumstances and all public and private gatherings have been banned for two weeks.The only exceptions to the stay-at-home rule is for travel to health, social care or other essential work, shopping for food and takeaways, medical appointments and for “vital family reasons” such as providing care.
People are also allowed take “brief, individual” physical exercise within 2km of their home.Protective equipmentMr Harris added a range of measures had been taken within the Garda to keep members of the force as safe as possible. This included distribution of personal protection equipment and changing how rosters were organised to avoid teams of personnel overlapping on duty.
“If you’re out on patrol, you have the same partner for the next few weeks. You’re work colleagues are as small a group as possible.”The Garda had also taken other measures to minimise the number of members meeting with each other, including meetings be done over the phone. Pre-shift briefing, known as parading time, was being conducted where possible in premises beside Garda stations rather than in stations.
Garda management said it would continue to be advised by its own medical experts and would stay in contact with the Garda representative bodies.Despite the crisis “policing was a people business” and gardaí were out meeting with the public every day, necessitating as much care as possible, Mr Harris said.
Asked if the Garda had lost members, like other organisations, because they had Covid-19 symptoms or family members had symptoms, he replied: “We’re no different, but at the same time we’re seeing this number fluctuate. We had some away because they had just returned from foreign holidays or foreign trips but now they’re returning back into the workforce.
“But we’ve also had people who are, regrettably, suffering or are close to those who have suffered, or may have been in contact with them.”Because the numbers available for duty had been increased - by restricting annual leave and temporarily closing the Garda College in Templemore, Co Tipperary - the Garda could cope with losing some members for periods due to Covid-19, he pointed out.Read more: The Irish Times »
'Evidence' (sic) is for proving crime! Proper. Order. That would including scam artists from Africa and god knows elsewhere showing up at our border 🤔 But they are not against us they are trying to protect us as best they can, I and most people have it,. But has to be done Utter nonsense. The govt need to get a grip on this stupidity. Drew Harris either has no idea what he is saying or the govt lied. 2KM was for exercise. Well it either is or isn’t. If he got this wrong then he should resign as these type of comments are terrifying people.
What is that? A shopping list and an empty bag? 'Should' isn't a law.....quote which law please? Stop causing panic and fear Tell ciarakellydoc stop walking 100miles, back to her shed with her, aren't people still contagious after Covid_19 As if they'd believe it. What a dope. This ain't the North Drew. People want to go along with this, but of the police start acting the bollox, they will lose a lot of goodwill.
More bollocks from the Irish Grimes. The 2km distance only applies to exercise. only if u tell us the truth, of what is going on with the new poles going up all over the country, we need to find out for ourselves we will never listen to varadkar or any Irish mp's they have proven beyond any doubt they r very very un-trust worthy.
GeorgeOrwell Police states never take long to enact but may remain for a long time I have a serious underlining health condition and a family member has to drive 20km to bring me my weekly shopping. Leaves it in the garden. I rang Alone and asked for advise on this and they said my family member should not be stopped as he is doing something vital.nervous now
Simple answer.....The shop. 2km is for exercise! I, like many, live more than 2km from a supermarket. What am I supposed to do? Take a photo of my empty cupboard? Ridiculous. Stop confusing people. The Irish Times & Mr. Harris must not been briefed by LeoVaradkar on the reason for grocery shopping for those of us not in the populous areas. It was distinctly said that if we had to travel in for the grocery or meds it’s fine but just one designated person
Nearest shop to me in over 5km. How do I evidence I am going shopping for essentials? Just start with supermarkets and convenience stores I'll be toting an empty wine bottle so... The 2km limit applies to exercising, this was made very clear. You are allowed to travel any distance for food shopping etc., this is bollocks.
Bag of pasta in the front.. sorted.. The good will of the people is eroding.
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