18 August 2020
ICCL does not support the reintroduction of expanded powers of enforcement for An Garda Síochána or the use of criminal penalties. We reiterate our position that public health advice should be consent and education-based. It should not be policed by coercion. We call on government to communicate with and educate people on the appropriate response to the surge in cases, rather than using coercion and force.
The increase in new cases of COVID-19 over the past number of days is significant and we must all take the necessary steps to limit the spread of the virus. It is however unfortunate that the latest guidance will disproportionately affect elderly and immuno-compromised people without addressing the issue of congregated settings where the virus can spread.
ICCL believes there should be more transparency around how public health advice is given and how government decisions are made. The last months have shown that government must prioritise at-risk people in care homes and nursing homes. It must also take steps to protect people living or working in crowded settings such as Direct Provision centres, factories and halting sites. ICCL believes resources would be better directed in this direction, not in policing ordinary people.