Fines for breaching Covid-19 rules on Cabinet agenda

The Cabinet will consider a number of measures arising from the decision to move the country to Level  5 restrictions from midnight tomorrow for six weeks.

Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien will bring a memo to Government to introduce a ban on evictions for renters during the period of heightened restrictions.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Brien said expects a Bill to go before the Seanad and Dáil this week to put the decision into law.

The Government is also likely to face calls to step up protections for mortgage holders in the period ahead, with Sinn Féin calling on the administration to meet the banks today.

Mr O’Brien said that both the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and the Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath will be engaging with the banks and mortgage providers to discuss arrangements for mortgage repayments for those impacted further by increased restrictions.

The issue of fines is also up for discussion, with Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly bringing a proposal to Cabinet that would allow for fixed charge notices or fines for breaches of regulations.

This would be underpinned by changes to legislation dating back to 1947.


It is likely penalties could be introduced for breaches of the regulation that states people must exercise within 5km of their home.

Official documents last night said that there will be a penalty for movement outside the 5km limit, unless it is for essential work, medical appointments or providing care to children or the elderly.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that if the country pulls together it will be possible to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way.

The Social Democrats said the prospect of some normality at Christmas is an incentive to work hard, but this time must be used to devise an agreed medium-term strategy, while Labour leader Alan Kelly said the hope of some Christmas celebrations will build social solidarity.

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