An Garda Síochána have launched a major operation today, Wednesday, April 8, to enforce the public’s compliance with Covid-19-related travel restrictions.

The operation – named Operation Fanacht – will see an extensive network of checkpoints established across the country. It will run from today at 12:00 until Monday night, April 13.

Gardaí say that thousands of check points will be established everyday during the operation. At any one time there are set to be around 2,500 officers involved in check points or high-visibility patrolling.

John Twomey, the deputy Garda commissioner for policing and security, said that the purpose of the operation was to “help flatten the curve and save lives”.

“There has been very good compliance with the travel restrictions, and we want to thank the public for this. However, it is vital this continues over the coming days and over the weekend. This will save lives,” Twomey added.

He continued: “In particular, we would ask people who are thinking of traveling 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.”

The operation will also see Gardaí conduct high visibility patrols at major tourist locations, parks and natural beauty spots to ensure compliance with travel restrictions.

Road safety

The Gardaí also took the opportunity to urge those who will be travelling for essential purposes to drive safely over the weekend.

“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,” Twomey highlighted.

Meanwhile, John Caulfield, the interim CEO of the 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.

“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,” Caulfield added.