Possible €500 on-the-spot fines for people not wearing masks in shops

By Rory Cashin

October 21, 2020 at 9:42am

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Possible €500 on-the-spot fines for people not wearing masks in shops

There is also a possible €1,000 fine or a month in prison for anyone organising a house party.

New measures were signed off by Cabinet on Tuesday evening, regarding fines to be issued to anyone who flaunts certain aspects of the Level 5 restrictions, which will come into effect from midnight tonight (Wednesday, October 21).

These measures will be put before the Oireachtas this week, which will allow Gardaí to enforce the new public health restrictions, by way of fining those who do not stay within the perimeters of the restrictions. The Government stated that they plan to enact the legislation as soon as possible.

Speaking to RTE, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee said "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."

It is suggested that an on-the-spot €500 fine could be issued to anyone who is not wearing a mask in necessary public areas, such as in shops or on public transport, while anyone who organises or hosts a house party could face a €1,000 fine or a month in prison.

However, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham stated that the new fines system was put together without any consultation on how it would be implemented, telling Newstalk the following:

"It is clear from the Minister's comments that we will not have the power to enter into a person's home and on a practical level this means that if a person refuses to answer the door to a member of An Garda Síochána, where a house party is taking place, we remain powerless.

"Similarly, will the fines apply to peaceful protests of less than 12 people? While we appreciate the Government felt they had to do something to address the issue of house parties and protests, we fear that, unless the practical enforcement elements are considered in these matters, the legislation may cause difficulties.

"Once again we face going into lockdown with more questions than answers. Our members will require detailed guidance on how these new proposed laws should be enforced."

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