Under Section 19C of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 as inserted by the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2002 it is an offence for a person to enter on and occupy property without the consent of the owner. Under the provisions of the Act An Garda Síochána have the power without warrant to arrest a person who fails to leave when requested and seize anything they bring onto the property in question e.g. caravans. Penalties for persons found guilty of an offence under this Part of the Act include fines not exceeding €3,000 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding one month or both.
The Gardaí confirmed at a recent meeting with officials from my Department that they are currently dealing with the illegal parking and camping on the Curragh under this legislation.
Having reviewed the situation there appears to be adequate provision for dealing with the issues under current legislation therefore I do not at this time see any benefits in producing additional legislation to handle this issue.
As part of the on-going management of the Curragh my Department officials liaise with various Departments and State Agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government and the Chief State Solicitors Office to ensure that best practice is adhered to in relation to the development and up keep of the Curragh Plains. While you will appreciate that it can prove difficult to fully prevent such activities every effort is being taken to address the situation and protect the valuable amenity that is the Curragh.