SINCE the introduction of the latest Covid-19 restrictions on Friday, gardai across Limerick have found themselves carrying out a variety of new duties in communities across the city and county.
Gardai from various units have mounted a large number of highly-visible patrols and checkpoints to ensure that people are staying at home and that motorists are only taking essential journeys – as per the guidelines.
While there has been a significant focus on main roads approaching towns and villages, there have also been patrols at beauty spots such as Curraghchase, Lough Gur and the Great Southern Trail.
In general, there has been a high level of compliance with the restrictions and gardai say they have issued advice to a number of people – some of whom were told to return to their homes.
In Limerick city and in larger urban areas, gardai have also been actively encouraging people to abide by the social distancing guidlines when they leave their homes to excercise or to go shopping for essential groceries.
As part of the overall response to Covid-19, An Garda Siochana have rolled out community-focused policing plans with a particular focus on assisting the elderly and vulnerable members of society.
The policing of Covid-19 in Limerick and across the country is being monitored on a daily basis by local garda management and the Garda National Covid-19 Co-ordination Group which is chaired by Deputy Commissioner John Twomey.
In addition, to checking on the welfare of people gardai have also been assisting them to ensure they can stay at home or cocoon.
“The requests vary from food and fuel shopping to the collection of prescribed medications but requests have also extended to buying moss peat or in one case to collecting school books from a school,” explained Sergeant Ber Leetch.
In recent days, gardai across Limerick have performed tasks and duties such as buying and delivering essential groceries and other items to households and individuals
All-Ireland winning hurler (with Tipperary), Padraig Maher found himself having to carry out some maintaince work on an oil-boiler after garda at Mayorstone garda station were contacted by an elderly couple after their heating failed.
Another gardai found himself changing the tyre of a Toyota Yaris while others have helped elderly householders by walking their dogs.
While, gardai have allocated significant resources to the Covid-19 crisis, other core activities are continuing.
Criminal investigations are continuing and gardai say they still have capacity to respond to all urgent and emergency calls which are not related to Covid-19.
An additional 39 gardai – including 19 probationer gardai from Templemore – have been assigned to the Limerick division for the duration of the public health crisis.