I propose to take Questions Nos. 313 and 314 together.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Garda powers in response to the Covid -19 pandemic were provided for under section 31A of the Health Act 1947, as inserted by the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and brought temporarily into effect through subsequent regulations – the Health Act, 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020. The regulations were signed by the then Minister for Health, following consultation with my predecessor as Minister for Justice and Equality, Mr Charlie Flanagan TD, as well as the then Minister for Finance and for Public Expenditure and Reform.
On foot of this, the Garda Commissioner and his senior team implemented a carefully graduated policing response, based on its strong tradition of policing by consent. Garda members engaged, explained and encouraged members of the public to comply and, only as a last resort, made use of their enforcement powers under these regulations.
With regard to the figures requested by the Deputy, I am informed by the Garda authorities that there are 48 recorded instances of a fine being issued due to breaches of regulations relating to face coverings on public transport.
I am further advised that there are 34 recorded instances of a summons being issued due to breaches of regulations relating to face coverings on public transport.
I am informed that the above figures were collated based on data from Pulse and the Fixed Charge Processing System as of 1:30am on 1 March 2022. The Deputy will appreciate that these figures are operational and may be liable to change.