Speaking after a briefing from Justice Minister and Department officials, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has said that some of the measures introduced this weekend to control the movement of people while the Covid-19 pandemic continues, would be unacceptable in other circumstances, but must be tolerated for a limited period in these extraordinary times.
Deputy Kenny said:
“The new powers given to gardaí to control the movement of people must be tolerated in these extraordinary times and in the knowledge that they will be in force for a limited time only.
“This morning’s briefing with Minister Flanaghan and some Department of Justice officials provided information on urgent issues within the remit of the department. I reiterate the call for people to remain at home and not travel this weekend or at any time under present circumstances and hope that the gardaí will have little call to use the powers granted to them in this regard.
“Overcrowding in court houses where sittings of different courts have been amalgamated is one such matter, which we were reassured would not occur again.
“Better and more accessible use of video link to ensure that prisoners can communicate with their legal representatives while prison visits in person are prohibited has been provided and I am calling on the prison service to ensure that it is put to this specific use without delay.
“The Department of Justice has a responsibility to care for people who have no control over their own movement or accommodation and must be conscious of the weight of that responsibility at all times. This applies to those incarcerated in prisons and living in close quarters in direct provision centres and the staff working among them.”