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10th Apr 2020

“It is not our desire to turn Ireland into a police state”

Conan Doherty

Social responsibility.

You’ll probably have an opportunity to chance your arm over the next three weeks. You might even avoid being caught. It’s not worth it. The country needs every single soul playing their part.

When you’re all in it together, it means that everyone – no exceptions – has an equal part to play. Nobody’s too small in this game. Every person makes a difference.

As Leo Varadkar announced a three-week extension to the restrictions in Ireland, there’s still concern that some people will act on their own behalf and, in doing so, put others at risk. With the Bank Holiday weekend clashing with good weather, there are murmurs that breaks will be made for holiday homes and seasides and that movement and those gatherings could put Ireland even further behind in their fight against the coronavirus.

But with the Gardaí given powers to now enforce these restrictions – to ensure that people stay within 2km of their homes, that non-essential workers are not travelling for their jobs and family visits are limited to special circumstances – the mass movement of people can be halted. Who wants to see that though? Who wants to see people forcibly being returned home or fined for travelling? All anyone wants to see is everyone chipping in for the common good.

“It is not our desire to turn Ireland into a police state for one day, let alone a month,” Varadkar said on Friday afternoon.

“I don’t want to see those powers used anything other than sparingly.

“The gardaí have extensive powers if they have to use them but let’s not use them. Let’s all do the right thing.”

And as surely as boredom and frustration sets in, a man’s team ethic can be tested too – especially when he feels everyone isn’t putting in the same groundwork.

“I have seen on social media, particularly in the UK, people reporting people for doing a second run or for being 2.1km away from the house. 

“I don’t think we’ll suppress this virus by becoming the Valley of the Squinting Window. We’ll suppress this virus by doing the right thing by us and everyone around us.”

Disappointingly, the questions still make allowance for selfish acts with the Taoiseach being pressed about people using this weekend as a final opportunity to see their families for what will be at least three more weeks and, realistically, longer still.

“I really encourage people not to go visit their families [other than exceptional circumstances]. We’re trying to confine this virus to households rather than spreading it from one household to another. That’s how the virus spreads.”

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Leo Varadkar