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Gardai report high compliance over travel restrictions

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Gardai monitor compliance with Covid-19 regulations on the southbound carriageway of the N7. Picture: Colin Keegan

Gardai monitor compliance with Covid-19 regulations on the southbound carriageway of the N7. Picture: Colin Keegan

Gardai monitor compliance with Covid-19 regulations on the southbound carriageway of the N7. Picture: Colin Keegan

Gardai manning checkpoints this Bank Holiday weekend have seen a high compliance with travel restrictions put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.

An extensive network of checkpoints are being manned across the country.

More than 2,500 gardai are manning checkpoints or taking part in high-visibility patrolling to persuade the public to comply with the 2km movement restrictions as part of Operation Fanacht.

A focus has been put on main arterial routes, secondary roads and those leading to tourist hotspots, parks and walking routes.

Gardai are liaising with the PSNI to encourage motorists to stay at home unless they are making an essential journey. Joint cross-border checkpoints have been conducted at Muff and Lifford Bridge, Co Donegal, where gardai reported high compliance.

The joint policing effort yesterday seized €2,500 and suspected cannabis when a 22-year old man was arrested after the car he was travelling in turned back from a checkpoint and drove to Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone.

Speaking at the Lifford Bridge checkpoint yesterday, Inspector Michael Harrison said: "We're stopping people here, we're asking them where they are going and what is the purpose of their journey.

"We are finding the co-operation we are getting at these checkpoints quite good," he said. "Nobody wants to transmit this virus. But we are detecting a number of other offences at these checkpoints."

Recent figures revealed gardai arrested 76 people between April 8 and April 25, while another two people were arrested on the instruction of a medical professional.

Another 760 people have been arrested for other alleged offences, ranging from drink-driving detected at checkpoints, drug seizures and public order offences.

Operation Fanacht, which began at 7am last Tuesday, will run until the end of the May Bank Holiday weekend tomorrow night.

Speaking about the operation this week, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: "We're not changing tack, it still remains by education, and giving people education and encouraging their compliance and we find that in the vast, vast majority of cases that's working out for us.

"This week is the same, but we just want to be sure that we have a good strong presence on the roads, including trunk roads, the motorways, major roads as well as on secondary, on more minor roads to make sure the message is still with people. Enforcement is always there but it is at the far end of an exchange."

On Friday night, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar unveiled a five-phase exit strategy from lockdown.

He announced that older people who have been cocooning can leave their homes for short periods from next week.

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