Gardaí have massively increased their enforcement of fines for breaches of the 5km travel limit over the weekend, promising greater presence on backroads which people have reportedly used until now to skirt around the main Garda checkpoints.

The government has ordered that citizens remain at home unless they have to travel for work, school, or other essential purposes, as per Level 5 restrictions. To aid their efforts, Gardaí were given new powers last Monday to fine those who broke the 5km travel limit.

Gardaí broke-up and fined a variety of events over the weekend, from individuals stopped at random checkpoints who were deemed to be travelling unnecessarily, to a road bowling event of at least 50 people in the north of Cork, where dozens of people had their names and addresses taken and were fined €100 each. Police have also reportedly set up checkpoints at scenic areas, like parks and beaches, to catch anyone leaving the house for leisure purposes.

Individuals have reportedly been stopped nationwide, from Westmeath, to Wickow, to Longford and elsewhere.

“Our members are out there on the frontline trying to enforce these restrictions in support of the public health measures, and they are getting abuse from some people at checkpoints,” said West Cork Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan.

“The message is very simple. If you are beyond your 5km without a reasonable excuse, you will be fined.”