Superintendent Tom Calvey. Pic: Keith Heneghan
Senior garda says public largely compliant with restrictions
A SENIOR Garda in Mayo has rubbished claims there has been a breakdown in compliance with Covid-19 regulations in the county, and he is urging the public to continue to stick by the rules.
Superintendent Tom Calvey described as ‘nonsense’ suggestions that there was an influx of visitors to the county for the Easter holidays, despite issuing ten fines for people travelling outside the 5km travel restrictions on Good Friday alone.
Over the weekend, posts on social media claimed that many beauty spots and tourism destinations were busier than normal, and that many areas had seen an influx of people staying in holiday homes.
Supt Calvey, who is responsible for governance (including road policing) in the Mayo Garda Division, told The Mayo News that checkpoints were operating throughout the county last week and nothing indicated an influx in visitors to the county.
“I have no information to suggest there was an influx of people going to their holiday homes. I am not saying there was none, but we had an operation around the clock since last Tuesday targeting people travelling when there was no necessity for it. There was nothing to suggest from it there was a large number of people coming west,” he explained.
Last week, An Taoiseach Micheál Martin outlined dates for easing Covid-19 restrictions. From April 12, people will be allowed to travel within their county for exercise and recreation.
Supt Calvey said the policy among gardaí in the county is to adopt the ‘four Es approach’ to policing the current Covid-19 regulations: engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce. He acknowledged that people are ‘fed up’ with the regulations but urged everyone to stick with them.
“We are human beings ourselves; we’d love to get out and about. But we are in the final straight and we would urge people to stick with it at this stage. We’d all love to be able to go out to do what we’d like to do, but we have to stick with it for another few weeks.
“Alright people are fed up, but they’re still doing what they are supposed to be doing. There is nothing to suggest [a higher level of] non-compliance than there was six weeks or two months ago. The vast majority of people are still being compliant,” he said.
Eleven on-the-spot fines were issued by gardaí in relation to a house party in Westport on Thursday night but Supt Calvey said he had no information of further such incidents over the bank holiday weekend.
The Government also announced that from next Monday, all in-school teaching will return and people will be able to to meet one other household outside – but not in a private garden. All residential construction can restart, as well as early learning and childcare projects.
From April 19 training for and playing adult intercounty GAA games can start, and high-performing athletes as approved by Sport Ireland can resume training too.
Subject to the prevailing public-health situation, outdoor sport facilities can reopen from April 26, as can outdoor visitor attractions, such as zoos and open pet farms.
Despite calls from religious leaders in Ireland to reopen churches to the public for religious services, this will not be allowed until May 4. However, from April 26, the maximum attendance at funerals increases to 25.
There is still no date for the full reopening of non-essential retail, but click-and-collect and outdoor retail is scheduled to begin from May 4.