Sasko Lazarov/

AGSI 'disappointed' to learn of public complaints about gardaí who were not wearing masks

The Garda Ombudsman said it has received more than 70 complaints about enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions.

THE ASSOCIATION OF Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has said it was disappointed to learn that members of the public had made complaints about gardaí for not wearing face masks at checkpoints. 

Yesterday the Garda Ombudsman (Gsoc) said it had received more than 70 complaints from members of the public about an aspect of enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions.

One in three of the complaints alleged gardaí were not observing social distancing or were not using gloves and/or masks.

“The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors wants to clarify to the public that gardaí do not routinely wear face masks when policing Covid-19 checkpoints and / or on other related duties,” the representative association said today. 

It explained that gardaí are not mandated to do so by garda management.

“AGSI is however on the record for advocating for the wearing of masks where physical distancing is not possible.”

On Tuesday Garda Commissioner Drew Harris revealed gardaí have invoked their emergency pandemic enforcement powers 76 times since they came into effect on 8 April.

Some of these incidents are already before the courts. Pre-existing enforcement powers were also used in 760 incidents where other offences were highlighted in the course of Covid-19 operations. 

He said the vast majority of people are compliant with the current public health advice. 

Harris also said there have been 31 incidents since 8 April in which gardaí were spat at or coughed on. 

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