Gardai in Portlaoise were called to an area of Portlaoise yesterday afternoon where a number of young people had allegedly been playing a game of soccer.
Under the current public health guidelines in relation to exercise, people may meet with people from one other household in outdoor settings when taking exercise.
No indoor or outdoor exercise group activities, including those involving children, should take place – so therefore the gathering was in violation of this.
An eye witness informed LaoisToday that the game, involving up to 20 young people, took place a the green area near Portlaoise Leisure Centre.
A Garda spokesperson told LaoisToday that they were called to the area and, following discussions with a number of young people, these people complied with the wishes of Gardai and left.
They said: “Gardaí in Portlaoise were called to a recreational area earlier this afternoon.
“A group of youths had allegedly been playing a soccer match.
“Upon arrival to the scene, there was a number of youths in the area. Gardaí engaged with these youths who complied and dispersed from the area.
“An Garda Síochána has been consistent in our graduated policing response to supporting Public Health Regulations and guidelines in line with our tradition of policing by consent.
“This has seen Garda members engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic remains a public health crisis and An Garda Síochána continues to appeal to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations, in particular essential journeys, in order to continue to save lives.”
Separately, Gardai revealed they had been very busy across the county on Saturday – handing out a number of fines for breaches of Covid-19 regulations.
They said: “We have issued fines to a number of people today that chose to ignore the public health guidelines. It’s all about transmission and reducing contacts.
“We will be continuing our checkpoints and high visibility patrols at public amenities across our Division this weekend in support of public health regulations.
“The public are advised to plan their weekend activities with 5km limit in mind.
“The 5km limit includes distance travelled from your home to exercise location.
“All adults in a vehicle or group in breach of non-essential travel regulation can be fined.”