Gardaí report an increase in number of spit and cough attacks 6 months ago

Gardaí report an increase in number of spit and cough attacks

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris labelled the attacks "reprehensible".

Gardaí were spat or coughed at during the course of their work 70 times since early April.

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In a statement, An Garda Síochána reported 70 incidences of members being spat and/or coughed at, while spit hoods were used 57 times during the period from 8 April until 16 May.

Spit hoods were introduced in Ireland as a temporary measure during the Covid-19 outbreak to protect members of An Garda Síochána from being spat or coughed at and are considered a use of force.

An Garda Síochána said that the vast majority of the public continue to abide by the restrictions to prevent the spread of Covid-19, however there were some cases of people violating the regulations.

Gardaí said they had used the new Covid-19 powers 241 times since they were brought in last month by either arresting or taking the names of the individuals breaching the restrictions.

“There has been a high level of compliance with the public health guidelines to date," Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said.

"I want to thank the public for that. But, from this week, the country is entering another critical phase.

"It is vital that we all continue to play our part in reducing the spreading of Covid-19 by adhering to the updated public health guidelines.

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“Regrettably, these reprehensible spitting and coughing attacks on our personnel continue. These are a significant health and safety risk to our members in the current environment. We must protect them from such attacks.”