Over 370 people have been fined on their way to or from Dublin Airport for foreign holidays or other non-essential trips abroad in the past week, while 300 fines have now been issued to people for organising or attending house parties.
The latest Garda figures come after a fine of €500 came into force earlier this week for people specifically caught travelling to a port or airport to leave the State without a reasonable excuse.
Meanwhile, new €100 fines for non-essential travel across the Border were set to be rolled out from next Monday morning.
Garda Headquarters, in the Phoenix Park, Dublin, said the checks on cross-Border travel would commence from 7am on Monday and the fines would apply to people resident in the North but who had crossed into the Republic without having an essential reason for doing so. Residents of the Republic travelling to the North for non-essential reasons meanwhile continue to run the risk of the on-the-spot fines that have been in place for the past four weeks to ensure people do not travel farther than 5km from their homes.
During the last four weeks gardaí have issued 4,600 fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations, with the vast majority of those, some 3,500, issued to people for making non-essential journeys, or exercising, more than 5km from home.
Some 94 fines for "the non-wearing of face masks in certain locations" had also been issued, An Garda Síochána said, with the vast majority of those, 70 cases, relating to incidents in retail outlets.
Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey has reminded people that the Garda's enforcement operation for Covid-19 regulations, including checkpoints nationwide, would be in place across the country this weekend.
“Covid-19 doesn’t switch off so that people can attend parties, or go on holidays, or gather in large groups,” he said, adding that most people were adhering to the regulations.
“The message is clear and has been for some time – people should only make essential journeys, reduce their contacts, practise social distancing, and wash their hands. Please stay safe and keep others safe by staying home.”
Of the 4,600 fines issued by gardaí for a wide variety of Covid-19 rule breaches, some 375 related to people travelling to or from Dublin Airport for the purposes of foreign holidays or other non-essential trips abroad since January 29th.
Some 301 people have been sanctioned for organising or attending house parties, with fines of €500 and €150 respectively, since the house party fines were introduced late last month.
To date six people who were fined for Covid-19 breaches have not paid the fine within the 28-day window and have now been summoned to appear before the courts next month in Dublin, Cork, Meath, Waterford and Limerick.
Garda sources said that number was expected to grow and that a “steady stream” of such cases would soon arise, with fines of €1,000 and a term of imprisonment upon conviction.
Garda Headquarters reminded anyone who was fined that if they did not pay within 28 days and were brought to court, those hearings were “open to reporting by local and national media”.
While restrictions currently applied to the operation of many businesses, with only outlets deemed to be essential allowed to remain open in the retail sector, gardaí said some licensed premises, restaurants, retail outlets, and hair and beauty salons, amongst other businesses, had been found in breach of the rules by opening over the past week when they should have been closed. Garda files on each case were being prepared for the DPP.
Gardaí were also investigating several cases where it was alleged more people had attended at funerals or weddings than permitted under current rules, with a cap of 10 people on funeral numbers and weddings limited to six attendees.