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'I don't care about lockdown,' claimed man stopped at Covid checkpoint


A garda Covid-19 checkpoint

A garda Covid-19 checkpoint

A garda Covid-19 checkpoint

A painter stopped by gardaí at a Covid checkpoint said he did not care about the lockdown as he did not know anyone affected by the virus.

It was one of a number of examples cited by gardaí as they said that, on the whole, people had been heeding the lockdown.

The painter was travelling to do a job in Co Meath when he was stopped by officers at a checkpoint in Dublin.

The man said he would not be adhering to restrictions "from a non-elected government" and that he would continue to work.

A file had been submitted to Director of Public Prosecutions, gardaí said.

In another case, in the north-west, a driver almost collided with a female runner after trying to avoid a Covid-19 checkpoint.

"Two occupants, not from the same family, were very aggressive and argumentative from the outset," said gardaí.

"The men said they were on the way to buy a part for a trailer. It was further established it was a non-essential part." Both said they would stop wherever they wanted. Gardaí have charged them with an offence.

Despite these examples, gardaí said yesterday that the 'turn-back' rate at checkpoints was 0.16pc on May 1 and that special regulations were invoked 139 times "out of hundreds of thousands of interactions with the public".

Pre-existing enforcement powers were used on 1,172 occasions, according to the force, while there were 52 incidents of spitting or coughing at officers.

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"An Garda Síochána continues to experience a high level of compliance with the public health guidelines at the many checkpoints and high visibility patrols it is conducting at tourist locations, natural beauty spots, and parks and beaches," it said in a statement.

The compliance rate was sampled at four of the larger checkpoints on Friday, May 1 - one in each Garda region.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland technology was used to calculate the number of vehicles passing through the checkpoints.

Some 21 of the 13,324 car drivers checked - 0.16pc - were requested to turn around for not having a valid travel reason and all of them followed that directive.

"No details of these cars or drivers are being retained as per Garda policy to first encourage people to bring themselves into compliance to support efforts to reduce the spread of Covid-19," the force said.

The ban on non-essential travel has coincided with a spell of unusually warm and sunny weather, according to Met Éireann.

The weather has been so warm and dry recently that drought has been recorded in some areas.

Temperatures reached almost 22C in Co Mayo on April 29, with much of the country basking in sunshine for weeks.

"The very dry weather, which started in the final third of March, with high pressure dominating, continued through most of April," Met Éireann said in its April summary released yesterday.

"This led to absolute drought, partial drought and dry-spell conditions being reported at many stations between March 18 and April 29," it added.

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