By James Ward, PA
Gardaí have issued almost 17,000 fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations at a value of around €2.3 million.
New figures from An Garda Síochána show the highest number of fines were issued for non-essential travel, with 12,336 incidents incurring a €100 penalty.
And more than 2,700 fines have been issued to people for attending or organising house parties.
Some 554 individuals have been fined €500 for organising such events, with another 2,259 hit with €150 penalties for attending house parties.
Deputy Commissioner of Policing and Security Anne Marie McMahon said: “On behalf of everyone in An Garda Síochána, I want to thank the vast majority of people who are helping to protect gardaí by following public health advice.
“Your sacrifice and support is very much appreciated. We know it is hard, but please keep it up.
“Unfortunately, despite the constant public health advice, we are still seeing people attending house parties and other large social gatherings.
“Going to such gatherings puts yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else you come into contact with after of getting Covid-19.
“Everyone has a role to play in this. The best way of keeping safe this weekend is to stay home.
“If you are going out, please stay within your 5km, limit your contacts with others, maintain social distancing, and regularly wash your hands.”
The latest figures, as of March 25, included 12,336 fines of €110 for non-essential travel and 1,096 fines for non-essential trips to ports or airports, 721 costing €500 and 375 at €100.
A total of 293 penalties of €80 have been issued to people for not wearing face masks.
There were also 313 fines of €100 for non-essential travel by persons not ordinarily resident in the state.
The total value of fines issued to date is approximately €2,287,000.
Gardaí say they will continue nationwide checkpoints and high-visibility patrols at public amenities, parks and beauty spots across the country this weekend in support of public health regulations.
They have reminded the public that people are only allowed to exercise within 5km of their home and must not go beyond that limit.
The public should also be aware that if a driver is found to be in breach of the non-essential travel regulations that not only can the driver be fined, but their adult passengers as well.
This is also the case for adults in groups undertaking activities such as cycling or walking — every adult in such a group can be fined.
The public are entitled to appeal against any fines they may receive and can do so at www.garda.ie.
Anyone who fails to pay their fine within 28 days will receive a court date shortly after.
Failure to pay the fixed penalty notice can result in conviction for a first offence in the district court in a fine of €1,000 and/or imprisonment.