Gardai set to deploy patrols at supermarkets to keep frenzied shoppers under control

Gardai set to deploy patrols at supermarkets to keep frenzied shoppers under control

GARDAI are to deploy special patrol units to supermarkets and chemists around the country in a bid to keep panicked shoppers under control.

Officers are set to work 12-hour shifts with shoppers expected to turn out en masse in a frenzy of panic buying over the coming days.

On Thursday evening, following the announcement that Ireland will be going into lockdown until March 29, a senior gardai management meeting was held to tackle the growing concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief superintendents were told that "with immediate effect members should be deployed to patrol the environs of supermarkets and chemists".

"With a view to providing comfort and reassurance to communities and providers that An Garda Siochana will maintain order and engage with members of the community to reduce any fears, while facilitating the resupply of shops."

People queue outside a supermarket

Panic buyers have been spotted fighting over everything from trollies to toilet paper in videos posted to social media over the past few days.

Health Minister Simon Harris yesterday urged the public not to resort to stocking products as it could potentially deny another customer stock of something they require.

"We're better than that," Harris said during a press conference last night.

One shopper, at Tesco in Liffey Valley, told the Irish Mirror that people were abusing workers, and fighting over trollies.

"It’s absolutely crazy. People are going crazy and just grabbing stuff
off the shelves, anything," she said.

"[The] poor staff are being verbally abused because a lot of stuff is gone. People are panicking."

A staff member at Supervalu in Dublin’s Ranelagh described the scenes as "like the walking dead".

"This has been mental, five times worse than Christmas Eve," she insisted.

"Pasta, rice, tinned stuff is being wiped off the shelves as quickly as we put them on it. I started working at 6am and I will be staying longer to lend a hand until this evening.

"I’ve never seen anything like this in the 12 years I’ve worked here. The queues are going in and around the aisle. People are out of control."