On the day that restrictions imposed to combat COVID-19 begin to be eased, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has signalled that powers given to the Gardaí to enforce those curbs will not be removed in the short term.
The Minister told the Irish Times the measures would be retained only for as long as they were “necessary, effective and proportionate”, adding that their lifting would be guided “purely by public health”.
Last week, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) said the time had come to remove what it described as “these extraordinary police powers”.
“If the Government has evidence to the contrary it should make its case before the Oireachtas and the people,” the ICCL said.
But Minister Flanagan told the Irish Times he was not in a position to say when the measures would be removed.
The legislation governing the Garda powers runs until 9 November, but the Minister indicated to the paper that they could be revoked earlier if the virus figures continued to improve.
He also said the public understood that the measures were necessary in the interests of public health.