Gardaí in Donegal have said they will continue to engage every motorist at Covid-19 border checkpoints while the travel legislation loophole is in place.
Large-scale checkpoints have been mounted in many parts of Donegal ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend.
Meanwhile, concern continues to surround a loophole in Ireland’s emergency legislation that only allows gardaí to enforce restrictions on people who are resident in the Republic.
Despite this, gardaí have said they can still ask drivers to turn around if their journeys are not essential.
Every motorist at crossings such as the Lifford Bridge will be engaged at the same level, a spokesperson said.
“We will engage and advise everybody, no matter if you are a northern or southern registered car. Everybody will be treated the same. Northern Irish residents – if they are crossing the border on a day trip, we will engage with them and advise them in relation to restrictions and social distancing while they are on their day trip,” said Garda Grainne Doherty.
Local gardaí are said to be working closely with the PSNI on the matter.
Garda Doherty also confirmed that other complaints have been made about Donegal residents travelling into Strabane to shop in ASDA. This is not a breach of restrictions, it was confirmed.
“If ASDA is your local shop, if you are living the Lifford area or ASDA is in your 2km distance there is no issue. You can go there for your weekly shop,” Garda Doherty said.
Operation Fanacht commenced this morning at 7am and will end on Monday night the 4th of May.
The operation will involve checkpoints on many main routes, on secondary routes and in towns and villages.
The operation will also see Gardaí conduct high visibility patrols at major tourist locations, parks and natural beauty spots to ensure compliance with restrictions.
Operation Fanacht previously ran in the run-up to, and during the Easter Bank Holiday weekend and there was a high level of compliance from the public. Gardaí are hoping that the same level will be seen this weekend.
Garda Doherty added: “We want to thank the public for their co-operation so far. We appreciate that the restrictions are not been easy. We need this compliance to continue. If we all work together, we can help save lives.
“We ask that everyone continues to stay at home, only making essential journeys.
“Keep practising social distancing. Details of what constitutes an essential journey and who are essential workers can be found on www.gov.ie”