Coronavirus: Cross-Border travel to be monitored over weekend

Further 200 beds secured to protect residents in direct provision centres

Cross-Border travel will be monitored by gardaí and the PSNI ahead of the bank holiday weekend to ensure that travel restrictions because of coronavirus are being adhered to.

At the Government's morning Covid-19 briefing, assistant secretary general in the Department of Taoiseach Liz Canavan said there is "excellent ongoing cooperation between an Garda Siochána and our colleagues in the police service in Northern Ireland."

“Points of contact have been established to monitor cross border travel and to ensure that restrictions in this jurisdiction are adhered to. Key locations of concern have been identified and the gardaí will follow their usual approach to engage, educate, encourage and enforce as a last resort.”

Separately, a further 200 beds have been secured to protect residents in direct provision centres and four hotels will be used to support social distancing and cocooning measures. The four hotels have been secured in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Dundalk. The extra 200 beds are in addition to the recently announced 650 beds for those residing in direct provision. To date, around 1,550 beds have been procured by the Department of Justice for direct provision in response to Covid 19, the Government has said.


On mobile network usage, new regulations have been signed by the Government to allow for a further spike in demand for mobile and broadband networks. Ms Canavan said there has been a “sharp increase in the use of mobile networks as people rely more heavily on their operators to communicate and use Government services and stay connected with family, friends and work.” She said mobile operators have said that they have “less headroom to accommodate further increases and potential spikes in demand.”

In light of this, The Department of Communications have signed regulations to provide extra capacity for mobile home and broadband networks. Ms Canavan also urged families not to visit amenities beyond their 2kms zone this coming bank holiday weekend. “What we are doing, we are doing for our family, our friends, our neighbors and the most vulnerable. We just need to stick at it. Let’s keep it going, we are the frontline.” She urged the public once again to observe social distancing and proper respiratory etiquette.

Wage subsidy scheme

Meanwhile the take up of Government’s temporary wage subsidy scheme continues to grow with 40,300 employers now registered with Revenue. Ms Canavan said that subsidy payments under the scheme for Good Friday and Easter Sunday won’t be in bank accounts until Tuesday due to the bank holiday weekend. Cumulative payments made under the scheme have now reached 155m euro. In terms of the pandemic unemployment payment, over 33,000 of more than 500,000 recipients have closed their claim mainly because employers are now availing of the wage subsidy scheme and the recipient is back in work.

On cyber security, Ms Canavan said there is new guidance for those working home. The advice explains how to secure your home office against cyber threats and can be found at The National Cyber Security Centre is urging citizens to be careful about potential cyber threats.

Ms Canavan also addressed “the Easter bunny question.”

“The general view is there are many good reasons why the Easter Bunny may not be able to visit households this year. So whether the Easter Bunny arrives or not, celebrate the day, stay at home and thank you for all your efforts.”

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times