Travel to holiday homes ‘not a reasonable excuse’ people in Derry, Tyrone & Donegal advised

People on both sides of the border have been urged to follow public health guidelines this Easter weekend, with travel to holidays homes, second homes, religious services and house parties ‘not deemed reasonable excuses.’

Saturday, 3rd April 2021, 10:34 am

Gardai and PSNI in Derry and Donegal will be increasing their patrols over the break to ensure people are staying within their local area.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Brian Tierney appealed to the public to celebrate Easter safely following concerns that an increase in household mixing could lead to a local spike in cases of Covid 19.

From this week in the north, people can meet outdoors for exercise in groups of ten from two households and six people from two households can meet in a private garden.

Members of An Garda Síochána operate a vehicle checkpoint on the main Muff to Derry border crossing previously. DER1920GS – 004

However, Level 5 restrictions remain in place in the South until April 12, with a 5km limit for exercise only and people liable to fines for non-essential journeys.

Mayor Tierney said: “As we have seen with the increase in cases after Mother’s Day and St Patrick’s Day there is a worrying correlation between public holidays and subsequent higher rates of infection,”

He added. “The increase in daytime hours means that there are more opportunities to get out and about however I would urge you to do that in our local area and only travel beyond that when it is an essential journey.

“I would also like to remind the public that cross border travel for non-essential journeys is forbidden and it is still not appropriate to visit beaches or stay in holiday homes and caravans over the border.”

Inishowen Garda Inspector Sean Grant said that while the impact of Covid 19 restrictions are having on everyone is ‘understood,’ they remain in place.

He, too, urged everyone to reduce their contacts this weekend and ‘stay at home.’

Insp. Grant outlined how anyone found to be in breach of the non essential travel regulations is liable to a fine of E100. He added that travel to ‘holiday homes, second houses, family gatherings and religious services are not deemed reasonable excuses.’

He highlighted how checkpoints will be in place in the coming days, not just for Covid 19 breaches, but also for road traffic offences. “Slow down, don’t drink and drive or do drugs and wear your seatbelt,’ he urged, adding that gardai will also be monitoring public parks and open spaces and asked that anyone who visits these ‘park legally and responsibly and don’t block access to emergency services.’

Insp. Grant also highlighted how organising and attending house parties is also a breach of regulations.