Gardai to increase presence to enforce social distancing

Key locations in cities and towns will see an increased Garda presence this weekend to enforce the current public health advice surrounding social distancing.

This development will form a part of Garda Operation Navigation, the operation tasked with enforcing compliance of the current public health advice on the 2,785 licensed establishments that recently reopened.

The Gardai outline their intent to "have a high visibility presence in key locations in cities and towns to ensure the public are adhering to the public health guidelines."

This latest addition to the policing strategy will no doubt have been catalysed by the scenes on Dame Lane last weekend, when revelers were filmed drinking in the city centre while not complying with advice relating to social distancing or the use of masks.


In enforcing the now updated Health Act, Gardai have taken what they call a graduated response, where they opt to "engage, educate, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce."

Even with this more lenient approach, 26 premises were found to be in breach of the public health advice aimed at limiting the spread of the virus, despite being given the opportunity to comply.

A file is now being prepared by the Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to the breaches.


Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey urged both publicans and punters to behave responsibly over the coming weekend.

"Last weekend, Operation Navigation found that the vast majority of licensed premises were adhering to the public health regulations.

"Unfortunately, 26 didnt appear to be.

"By doing so, they are putting themselves, their employees, their customers and the wider community at risk of getting COVID-19.

"We would hope that lessons have been learnt and we see an even high rate of compliance after this weekend.

"In addition, customers of licensed premises engaged in such practices also have to take personal responsibility.

"By using a premises that is not in compliance with the public health regulations and has not taken on-board the public health advice, those customers are also creating a risk to themselves, their family, their friends and the local community.

Current legislation within the Health Act surrounding social distancing will be in place until July 20th, at which point it will be reviewed.