€500 on-the-spot fines to be introduced for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions 1 month ago

€500 on-the-spot fines to be introduced for breaches of Covid-19 restrictions

"This shouldn’t become a numbers game: the objective is to get people to behave responsibly, rather than impose punishment.”

Those who breach the Government's Covid-19 restrictions can be issued with an on-the-spot fine of up to €500 under new legislation set to be confirmed in the coming days.

The Government has agreed to introduce additional enforcement powers for An Garda Síochána to deal with breaches of Covid-19 regulations.

The new Health (Amendment) Bill 2020 will amend the Health Act 1947 to allow for a system of fixed penalty notices.

The legislation is expected to be enacted as soon as possible and the new amendments will introduce a system of tiered fines, including fixed penalty notices which can be set up to €500.

However, the legislation will not be in effect at midnight tonight so the current current penalty of €2,500 or up to six months in prison will apply until it is passed.

Separately, the legislation will also make it an offence to organise an event in a private home or garden, such as a house party, that is in breach of the public health regulations which apply at the time.

Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, said: “While the vast majority of people continue to comply with the restrictions, it is clear that too many people are acting in a manner which enables the transmission of the virus and therefore additional measures are needed.

"The Gardaí will continue policing as they have done throughout the pandemic: by encouraging people to comply with public health regulations.

“The system of penalties being proposed here may help to change behaviour. It is important to stress that the aim needs to be preventing the kind of behaviour which endangers others, rather than aiming to see a large number of fines issued for such behaviour.

"This shouldn’t become a numbers game: the objective is to get people to behave responsibly, rather than impose punishment.”