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Delivering Easter Eggs not an essential journey warns Garda Commissioner

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An extensive network of checkpoints has been established across the country as part of Operation Fanacht to ensure public compliance with COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Running from 12pm today until Monday night (April 13th), there will be up to 2,500 checkpoints at any time across the country as Gardaí are given extra powers to get people to stay home in an attempt to flatten the curve.

Thousands of checkpoints will be in place everyday with high visibility patrolling also to be implemented.

Speaking at Wednesday morning’s press briefing, Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris advised people that travelling to family to drop off Easter Eggs is not an essential journey and that they will be turned away by Gardaí for doing so. “Regrettably delivering Easter Eggs is not an essential journey”, he stated.

Harris noted that the public’s compliance with restrictions has started to slip in recent days. He outlined that those currently at their holiday homes are to stay there. “If you’re at your holiday home already. That’s your place of residence now and that’s where you should be” and added, “You’re not to move to your holiday homes. You’ll be turned back. Stay put.”

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey commented that the new operation is to support the travel restrictions which aims to “save lives”. He said, “In particular, we would ask people who are thinking of travelling to parks, natural beauty spots or holiday homes outside of the 2km limit not to do so. We are sending them a clear message that if they are stopped at a checkpoint they will be turned back.”

High visibility patrols will be carried out at major tourist locations, parks and natural beauty spots to guarantee compliance.

Operation Fanacht will also enhance road safety according to Gardaí. “Unfortunately, despite the reduced traffic levels, there are still people putting their lives and the lives of others at risk by speeding, drink and drug driving, and not wearing their seat belt,” said Deputy Twomey.

Speaking today, Mr. John Caulfield, Interim CEO, Road Safety Authority (RSA) said, “While the roads will have less traffic than normal over the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend it doesn’t mean that there is no danger on the roads. People will be out exercising by going for a walk or cycle. So, I’m asking drivers to watch out for vulnerable road users and to slow down. Never has it been more important to practice good road safety habits because every crash and injury we prevent means we are putting less pressure on our first responders and health professions at a time of national crisis.”

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, TheJournal.ie and The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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