The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has expressed concern about proposed new legislation which would allow Gardaí to impose fines on people organising house parties or breaching other public health guidelines.
AGSI General Secretary Antoinette Cunningham said the organisation remained concerned about the practicalities of issuing on-the-spot fines in relation to house parties and other matters, referring to remarks made by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee on RTÉ.
“It is clear from the Minister’s comments that we will not have the power to enter into a person’s home and on a practical level this means that if a person refuses to answer the door to a member of An Garda Síochána, where a house party is taking place, we remain powerless,” she said.
The AGSI also queried whether the fines would apply to peaceful protests of fewer than 12 people.
Under the new measures, offences linked to house parties could face a fine of €1,000 or a month in prison. Other breaches of regulations could lead to on-the-spot fines of €500, under the proposed legislation, which must be approved by the Oireachtas.
Minister McEntee said: "It is important to stress that the aim needs to be preventing the kind of behaviour which endangers others, rather than aiming to see a large number of fines issued for such behaviour."