More than half of all people issued with a fine for breaching Covid-19 regulations have refused to pay.
Since the first Covid-19 laws were introduced last year, gardaí have issued more than 22,000 fixed-charge penalty notices for breaches such as hosting house parties and failing to wear a face mask in designated premises.
In more than 11,000 cases the alleged offender has refused to pay within the designated 28-day period. Gardaí this week warned that all those who refuse to pay can expect a court summons where they can opt to dispute the fine.
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“It is then a matter for the presiding District Court judge; on conviction for a first offence in the District Court a person may be subject to a fine of €1,000 and/or imprisonment. Courts are also open to reporting by local and national media,” a spokeswoman said.
District Court dates and summonses are currently being issued, she said.
The figures come as the Government prepares to introduce legislation to allow fines of up to €2,000 for people caught trying to use fake vaccine passes to access indoor hospitality services.
As of July 8th, 74 per cent of Covid fines have been issued to men and half have been issued on Saturdays and Sundays. People aged between 18 and 25 accounted for 50 per cent of all fines issued. Over-65s accounted for just 1 per cent.
The highest number of fines (2,755) have been issued in the Garda division of Dublin Metropolitan Region Northern followed by the Cork City division (2,132).
The lowest number were issued in the Dublin Metropolitan Region Southern division (344).
The number of fines being issued has dropped off dramatically recently as restrictions were lifted in various categories.
Just one fine for failing to wear a face mask was issued in the first week of July, compared with 328 in March.
The offence of leaving home without a reasonable excuse has accounted for the largest number of fines so far, with 14,882 €100 fines issued. No fines have been issued in this category since May when the offence was abolished.
Almost 2,000 people have received fines of either €500 or €2,000 for going to ports or airports for the purpose of international travel.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health reported 589 new cases of the virus on Tuesday. The number of patients being treated in hospital was 62, with 17 in ICU.
The North’s Health Department reported a further 511 positive cases of the virus in Northern Ireland. There were no further virus-related deaths reported in the past 24 hours.
The Health Service Executive said its vaccine registration portal was expected to open on Friday for people aged between 18 and 34 who wanted to receive an AstraZeneca vaccine.
Appointments for the AstraZeneca vaccine will be allocated to the oldest people in this age cohort first and then to others based on age.
People aged 18-29 will be able to register to receive an mRNA vaccine such as Pfizer or Moderna at a later date, the HSE said.
Registration for people aged between 34 and 30 for an mRNA vaccine started last week.