The Garda Commissioner has said gardaí do not have the power, and are not seeking the power, under Covid-19 regulations to break up parties or gatherings in homes parties if no breaches of the criminal law are taking place. 

Commissioner Drew Harris said he would not be in favour of granting members of the force the power under health regulations to enter people’s homes.

He warned against involving the Gardaí in an “authoritarian” approach to policing during the lockdown.

The Commisssioner told RTE news that the gardaí ‘did have a role in persuading people to disperse, dampen down the ambiance of the occasion and  encourage people to go home.’

However, he said that while house parties had increased during the lockdown, and while gardaí respond to complaints, people have constitutional rights as regards to their home and he was reluctant to see Garda powers increase to allow gardaí go into people’s homes.

“To enter a home to break up a house party is a very serious escalation of our powers and it is a road we should be very slow to embark on,” he said.