“The objective is to get people to behave responsibly,”
The Government has agreed on a raft of new fixed charges for people who flout Covid-19 guidelines, with possible fines ranging from €60 to €1,500.
As the country prepares to enter a six-week period of lockdown on Thursday morning, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD said that, while the vast majority of people continue to comply with the restrictions, “it is clear that too many people are acting in a manner which enables the transmission of the virus and therefore additional measures are needed.”
As part of the new Health (Amendment) Bill 2020, breaching the travel restrictions could result in a €60 on-the-spot fine, while refusing to wear a mask in a public setting where a face covering is required could result in a possible charge of up to €500.
Anyone found to be hosting a house party who refuses a Garda request to break up the gathering could receive an immediate fine of €1,500 or a three-month prison sentence.
Party guests don’t escape either; attending a house party could land you with a fine of €1,000.
‘This shouldn’t become a numbers game’
“The Gardai will continue policing as they have done throughout the pandemic: by encouraging people to comply with public health regulations,” said Minister McEntee
“The system of penalties being proposed here may help to change behaviour. It is important to stress that the aim needs to be preventing the kind of behaviour which endangers others, rather than aiming to see a large number of fines issued for such behaviour. This shouldn’t become a numbers game: the objective is to get people to behave responsibly, rather than impose punishment.”
In a statement, the Government confirmed it planned to enact the legislation “as soon as possible.”