Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Questions (565)

Thomas Gould

Question:

565. Deputy Thomas Gould asked the Minister for Justice the number of fines and sanctions issued to employers for breach of Covid-19 guidelines by month to date in tabular form. [5226/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, responsibility for policing the current public health regulations rests with the Garda Commissioner. Further, responsibility for the legislation underpinning the public health response lies with my colleague, the Minister for Health.

An Garda Síochána continue to use the 'Four E's' approach in line with their strong tradition of community policing and policing by consent. This sees Garda members Engage with, Encourage and Educate members of the public on public health advice and regulations, with Enforcement used only as a last resort.

Both the Policing Authority and the Gardaí provide regular reports and updates of An Garda Síochána's efforts during this difficult time and I am pleased to note that both the Authority and the Commissioner have noted high levels of compliance by the public and positive interaction between Gardaí and communities.

I understand that the Deputy has clarified that his question relates to non-essential businesses remaining open during the current level of restrictions. Since 25 October 2020, An Garda Síochána have continued to investigate any alleged breaches of public health regulations in relation to non-essential retail under Operation Treoraim.

As of 9 January 2021, the latest data available on the operation, there have been 108 incidents relating to breaches in retail premises, with proceedings have commenced in three of those cases by that date. I have sought a breakdown of these figures by month from the Garda authorities and will write to the Deputy once I have received it.

Where members of the public are concerned about activities in relation to the retail sector, I would encourage them to contact their local Garda station.