A couple arrested for activity in Kilkee were among the first in Ireland to be sanctioned by An Garda Síochána under new emergency measures.
Gardaí have said arrests are the last resort as they appealed for compliance with public health regulations.
One young couple from Co Limerick refused to co-operate with Gardaí on Saturday when they were returning from a trip to Kilkee.
The Limerick Leader have reported that the couple were originally from Poland. They did not provide their names or explain their reason for the journey nor when questioned by Gardaí over the weekend. The pair also rejected a request from Gardaí to return home. They had travelled over 100km.
The Clare Echo understands that they were then brought to a nearby Garda station where they realised the gravity of their error.
Before being released, they were issued with a warning regarding their behaviour. As per national guidelines, a file will now be prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.
150 permanent checkpoints on major routes were conducted by An Garda Síochána as part of Operation Fanacht from Wednesday April 8th to Monday night. There were over 500 shorter and mobile checkpoints plus high visibility patrols at tourist locations, natural beauty spots, parks and beaches.
During this time, Garda members interacted with hundreds of thousands of people. The vast majority were adhering to the public health guidelines.
In a small number of cases, despite receiving a number of warnings, some individuals did not adhere to the guidelines and the regulations were used under the Health Act 1947- Section 31A- Temporary Restrictions (Covid 19) Regulations 2020 in seven cases.
There were 144 COVID-19 related incidents that started as potential breaches of the regulations, but during the incidents other offences were disclosed. As such, long-standing legislation for offences such as public order, assault, road traffic, and drugs was used instead. This included incidents involving house / street parties, gatherings beyond the family unit, and non-essential travel.
“There was a very high level of compliance with the public health guidelines over the Easter weekend. I want to thank the public for that. This has helped saved lives. We now need people to continue that high level of compliance over the coming weeks. Working together we can reduce the spread of COVID-19,” Commissioner Drew Harris stated.
He added, “Regrettably, there was a small minority who did not adhere to the guidelines or other legislation and Garda members had no option but to use the regulations or other legislation. This demonstrates the need for the regulations not only from an enforcement point of view, but also to support those who are willingly living their lives in line with the public health guidelines”.