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Gardai handed powers to arrest people flouting travel restrictions over Easter weekend

By James Fenton

April 8, 2020 at 9:26am

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Gardai have been handed new powers to arrest people who flout Covid-19 social distancing measures over the long Easter weekend.

Health Minister Simon Harris appeared on RTE's Prime Time last to explain that gardai will have the power to arrest and detain anyone who travels to holiday locations around Ireland over the weekend. The temporary measures were signed off last night and will remain in force until Sunday, with anyone arrested potentially facing a €2,500 fine or a jail sentence.

Current measures announced almost a fortnight ago include the provision that all non-essential travel more than 2km from people's homes is restricted until Easter Sunday. During his Prime Time interview, Minister Harris praised the compliance of the Irish public thus far but added that "it's important that the gardai have these laws in their back pocket so that if they do need enforcement powers they have them."

Yesterday, Minister Harris said that it was "highly unlikely" that social distancing restrictions put in place on Friday, March 27 will be lifted this Sunday as first indicated.

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