Give Up Yer Aul Parties
As Nova.ie reported last night, a new raft of fines is to be introduced in an effort to get the few people who are still breaking Covid regulations to quit their messing and get on board with the regs. Travelling outside the 5km limit for anything other than essential reasons could incur a fine of €500 on the spot. That’s bad enough but if you go wild altogether and have a party, have An Garda Síochana called out to you and then refuse to stop yer partying, you’ll face a €1000 on the spot fine and a month in jail.
Don’t We Already Have Fines For This Sort Of Messing?
Actually, yes we did. During the first lockdown, the Government passed legislation allowing those that breached regulations, such as remaining within their designated travel limit, could be prosecuted in the District Court, given a 6-month prison sentence and a €2.5k fine. That system was more cumbersome though. The new system allows for a fixed charge penalty notice to be issued to the person breaking the regulations, effectively an on-the-spot fine. Failure to pay the €500 charge will result in escalating fines and will evnetually lead to a criminal prosecution. People who do not wear a face mask on public – we all see you with them round your chins as soon as you sit down! – will also face these fines.
Who’s Doing This Fine Stuff?
The Gardaí will now have powers to issue fines. The Guards will be encouraged to try a carrot and stick approach. People will be requested to comply and it will only be after refusal to comply or repeated breaching of the regulations that fines will become necessary.
It seems that parties, raves, whatever you want to call big gatherings of people with no physical distancing, are big drivers of Covid cases. Indoor gatherings especially are an issue. Anywhere people are likely to be having a drink (and the rest), getting less likely to stop themselves hugging people and slobbering on each other (like we all want to do) is likely to increase the spread of the virus. So, on the spot fines of €1000 were deemed necessary for those people who won’t break up their party when the Guards tell them to.
The majority of people are complying with current regulations and it’s expected that there will be a high level of compliance with the Level 5 regulations coming into force at midnight tonight too, without the need for financial penalties. For the few who don’t respond well to public health regulations though, fines may be the only way to go.