Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (613)

Colm Burke

Question:

613. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Justice the number of persons fined for breaches of the Covid-19 five-kilometre movement restrictions in Cork; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6558/21]

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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.

I am advised by the Garda authorities the Fixed Charge Processing System (FCPS) reports on the number of fines which have been recorded. However, it is not possible to report on the number of persons fined as FCPS does not have a unique person identifier. Further, the 5km limit applies to exercise, and so the relevant offence for the FCPS in this case is leaving home without a reasonable excuse (aka movement of persons).

I am advised by the Garda authorities that, as of 3 February, a total of 264 fines for movement of persons (leaving home without a reasonable excuse) have been issued across the three Cork Divisions.

The Deputy may wish to note that 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.