Gardaí waiting for families to return from holidays to issue court summons
Travel fines are also expected to be increased.
Gardaí are waiting for some families to return from holidays to issue court summons over restriction breaches.
Reports have suggested that despite fines currently in place over breaches of Covid travel restrictions, many families and groups are still deciding to go abroad for holidays.
The Irish Times reports that Gardaí are currently warning holiday-makers that they may face a criminal record of jail time if they decide to go ahead with their unnecessary trips.
Gardaí have been issuing fixed-charge fines to those travelling to and from Ireland's airports and ports for non essential journeys. These fines currently total €500 and are expected to be introduced to €2,000 in the coming days.
Despite this, reports suggest that many people are undeterred by the fines and are simply approaching them as an additional cost to their holiday.
According to the publication, Gardaí will now approach specific breaches individually as per Section 31(a) (7) of the Health Act 1947, which gives Gardaí the power to ensure a person or family pays a fine.
If they do not pay, further criminal offence can be added and later lead to a court summons. This offence is punishable by up to one month in prison, a €1,000 fine, and a criminal record afterwards.
This comes after it was revealed that over half of arrivals into Dublin airport in January were passengers returning from holidays.
Speaking at a parliamentary party meeting last month, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that of the 800 people who came into the country through airports, 542 people were Irish and 397 were returning from holidays.
Yesterday marked the first time since December no new Covid-19 related deaths were recorded in Ireland. Despite this, deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn has said that some form of restrictions will likely remain in place for at least another six months.
"Over the coming months, what we will want everybody to do is when they are out and about and interacting, to do so safely," he said.
"I don't see a scenario where we are not asking people to wear face masks, to keep physical distance, to avoid crowds, to avoid poorly ventilated spaces over the next six months."