Gardaí have invoked emergency Covid-19 powers 192 times in the last month, including 64 spitting incidents 4 months ago

Gardaí have invoked emergency Covid-19 powers 192 times in the last month, including 64 spitting incidents

Gardaí report being spat or coughed at 64 times in the last month.

An Garda Síochána has reported 64 incidents of spitting and/or coughing at members of the force in the last month, which were dealt with under temporary powers granted to Gardaí to maintain restrictions imposed in order to control the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland.

These restrictions include limiting non-essential travel beyond certain distances, and failure to comply with social distancing measures while in public.

A statement released on Tuesday noted 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.

Gardaí have invoked these powers 192 times since they were introduced on 8 April, which includes both arrests and incidents in which no arrests were made but names and addresses of individuals were taken for consultation with the Director of Public Prosectutions.

Among these 192 incidents, there were 64 incidents of spitting and/or coughing against members of An Garda Síochána. Gardaí also report having to use anti-spit guards 47 times. Garda Commissioner Drew Harris noted that the use of spit-guards is a matter of "last resort" for Gardaí.

Additionally, there have been 1,432 incidents where other offences were discovered in the course of Covid-19 operations, such as Operation Fanacht. These incidents include drink-driving as well as drugs and weapons offences. These figures are valid as of 9 May.

"We thank the public for the continued high level of compliance with the health guidelines," said Drew Harris.

"Working together, we can reduce the spread of Covid-19 to help protect our family, friends, neighbours and colleagues.

"At the outset of the COVID-19 situation, I said that An Garda Síochána will continue to operate as a community-based policing service with a focus on protecting the vulnerable. This approach will not change."