House party organisers face €2,500 fine under new rules
€2,500 or six months imprisonment.
The government has published legislation which outlines the potential punishments facing people who hold house parties or gatherings during the pandemic.
The legislation details that for the first offence, an individual found guilty of holding a house party would face a fine not exceeding €1,000 or a prison term not exceeding three months, or both.
For a second offence, they could face a fine of €1,500, three months in prison, or both.
And for third offence, a fine of up to €2,500 may be issued, as well as six months in prison.
Under the legislation, the occupier of the dwelling where the event takes place will be presumed as the "event organiser" and be liable for prosecution.
Gardaí will also have the power to order people on their way to attend a house party or gathering to leave the area immediately.
Failure to follow the direction of Gardaí on this matter, without a reasonable excuse, means a person can be liable to a €1,000 fine and one month in prison.
A provision is also made for fines of up to €500 for certain other offences.
In a statement issued on Tuesday night, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said Gardaí would police by encouragement rather than enforcement where possible.
“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," she said.
"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.”