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Gardai will never pull you over if you just stay home

Eilis O'Hanlon


No one likes to see the guards putting up roadblocks over Easter, but the right to personal freedom comes with duties as well

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BEST STAY HOME: Garda checkpoint on the Johnstown Road, Naas, with a new message on the Naas Ball in the background, as people are urged not to travel because of the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Tony Gavin

BEST STAY HOME: Garda checkpoint on the Johnstown Road, Naas, with a new message on the Naas Ball in the background, as people are urged not to travel because of the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Tony Gavin

BEST STAY HOME: Garda checkpoint on the Johnstown Road, Naas, with a new message on the Naas Ball in the background, as people are urged not to travel because of the coronavirus crisis. Photo: Tony Gavin

The only reason the gardai have been given emergency powers to stop well-off urbanites heading to the coast this weekend is because there happens to be an emergency.

It's alarming that, weeks into this crisis, and it already feels like months, that needs to be restated. But it does, mainly because ideologues on both right and left are struggling to adapt to the new world the coronavirus crisis has created.

What they have in common, apart from a fear that personal freedom is under threat from these new powers, is an equally unshakeable conviction that the Government in Ireland is constantly itching to instigate a police state and is simply using Covid-19 as an excuse. Some in uniform may relish their new role a little too much, but there isn't the slightest shred of evidence that the Government wants to do this any longer than is absolutely necessary, not least if the economic damage caused by the lockdown is to be reversed.