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'I wouldn't say roadblocks': Leo Varadkar says there'll be a garda presence at the border

The Tánaiste said there would be gardaí policing rules around inter-county travel.

Image: RTÉ Prime Time

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said there will be a garda presence between counties, including along the border, as part of travel restrictions that come into place from St. Stephen’s Day.

As part of new adjusted Level 5 restrictions, people won’t be able to travel beyond their county after midnight on the night of 26 December.

The advice states people who have already left their county can remain in another county until they are due to return home.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time this evening, Varadkar was also spoke about the issue of people circumventing the travel ban from Britain by coming through Belfast

He was asked asked whether there would be road blocks by gardaí to stop this happening at border crossings such as Lifford in Donegal and the M1:

I wouldn’t say roadblocks but there will be a police presence and the Taoiseach will be speaking to the Garda Commissioner about that.

Asked whether there will be gardaí on the M1 motorway, the Tánaiste said: “There will, there will be a garda presence between counties because we’ll be going back to a system that says on the 26th you’re supposed to stay in your county except for essential reasons.”

Earlier today, Stormont’s Health Minister expressed concern that Northern Ireland was turned into a “funnel” for people travelling to the Republic from Britain, after Ireland imposed a flight ban.

Speaking more broadly about enforcement, Varadkar said that gardaí had been encountering problems due to the consumption of alcohol

“One of the issues we had to consider when the Cabinet Committee on Covid met on Monday night was enforcement. One of the messages that Minister McEntee mentioned was that gardaí, despite their best efforts, were having real problems with enforcement, particularly in the gastropubs. 

“In the run up to Christmas people have taken a bit of alcohol, humans behave the way they do and we’re conscious of that and we’re also conscious of the ongoing issue too of people drinking outdoors, which is a concern so we’re seeing what solutions are possible there too.” 

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Last month, the government abandoned plans to introduce fines for drinking takeaway alcohol outside.

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Rónán Duffy

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