More than a third of population not staying within 10km of home

CSO data shows growing numbers becoming frustrated with national travel restrictions

Some 35.2 per cent of people in the Republic travelled further than 10km from their homes the week ending February 19th 2021. Photograph: iStock

Some 35.2 per cent of people in the Republic travelled further than 10km from their homes the week ending February 19th 2021. Photograph: iStock

 

More than a third of the population are not staying within 10km of their homes with increasing numbers in every county in Ireland breaking travel restrictions and relaxing their “mobility behaviour”, according to new data.

Some 35.2 per cent of people in the Republic travelled further than 10km from their homes the week ending February 19th, 2021, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) reported on Monday.

This is a slight increase on the week ending February 12th which showed 33.3 per cent of people were going beyond 10km of home.

Information from the CSO’s fourth Staying Local Indicator (SLI) report, which uses anonymised mobile phone data to measure people’s movements over a seven-day period, reveals compliance with travel restrictions are dropping as people become increasingly frustrated and tired by the 5km travel limited imposed in late December in response to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The latest SLI report shows Dubliners are still the most likely to stay within 10km of their home while people in Kerry and Mayo – far more rural areas where people tend to travel further for food shopping and other essential trips – are more likely to move outside the 10km zone.

The CSO acknowledges in the report that people’s propensity to stay within 10km of home is impacted by local conditions and access to services.

However, all counties in Ireland showed a decrease in compliance with staying local during the third week of February. In Mayo, just half of people staying within 10km of their home during the recorded period, down from 53.2 per cent the previous week. In Roscommon, compliance also dropped from 51.7 per cent to 50 per cent while counties Carlow and Tipperary around 52 per cent of people stayed within 10km of home.

Some 78.1 per cent of Dubliners stayed within 10km of home, down from 79.7 per cent the previous week while in counties Cork and Limerick, 63.9 per cent and 62.9 per cent respectively did not travel further than 10km.

Overall, 64.8 per cent of people nationwide staying with 10km of home during the third week of February based on the seven-day rolling average, down from 66.7 per cent the previous week.

The SLI report is based on analysis of anonymised, aggregated, mobile phone activity records, according to the CSO. It says data from Three Ireland is collated from anonymised data sets at a macro scale, aggregated at electoral division and provided to the Department of Health and that no personal data is provided or analysed.

“The outputs from this analysis provide important insights for decision makers and the public in the midst of the global pandemic,” it says.

Fines

Under the current Covid-19 restrictions, people are required to stay within 5km of their home and only travel for work, education or other essential purposes. The Government has said it will consider lifting the 5km limit in April based on a continued drop in Covid-19 case numbers.

Some 9,800 on the spot fines had been issued by the end of last week for Covid-19 breaches since an Garda Síochána started issuing fines in January for non-essential travel during the lockdown period. These include 7,566 fines of €100 for non-essential travel within Ireland.

Some 716 fines – initially €100 and now €500 – have been imposed for non-essential journeys to airports and ports, by people intending to leave the country.

Garda Headquarters said some 277 fines of €500 had been imposed on people for organising house parties and 1,109 fines of €150 had been imposed on people attending house parties. The number of €80 fines imposed on people for failing to wear face masks, in shops and on public transport, has now reached 187.

Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said on Friday that while the majority of people in the Republic believed they were following the Covid-19 restrictions, research had now shown many people were still having “casual contact” with others.

“We all have a role to play in tackling the spread of Covid-19. This is an individual and collective responsibility,” he said.

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