Garda checkpoint 'turning vehicles around' at Louth border amid Covid-19 lockdown
A major garda checkpoint at Junction 20 along the M1 motorway today is, according to reports, stopping non-essential vehicles from crossing the border from Northern Ireland into the south, as part of Covid-19 restrictions.
Reports suggest that vehicles deemed to be on non-essential journeys are being turned around at the exit for the Carrickdale Hotel and returned north.
In a statement to the Democrat today, Gardai said: "An Garda Síochána has today launched a major operation to ensure public compliance with the travel restrictions introduced recently as part of Covid-19 public health guidelines.
"The operation – Operation Fanacht- will see an extensive network of checkpoints established across the country.
"The Operation will run from today at 12noon until Monday night, April 13.
"It will involve thousands of checkpoints every day. At any one time, there will be over 2,500 Gardaí involved in checkpoints or high visibility patrolling."
Speaking today, Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said, “This significant policing operation is designed to support travel restrictions put in place 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 that this continues over the coming days and over the weekend. This will save lives.
“In particular, we would ask people who are thinking of travelling 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.
Operation Fanacht will also enhance road safety.
“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,” said Deputy Twomey.