CABINET is set to sign off on a number of new restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Ireland which will see, among other things, gardaí patrolling the border.
The controversial decision - which is yet to be officially announced - is being considered in order to combat non-essential travel and to ensure new quarantine requirements are being followed by anyone entering the country from the UK - including Northern Ireland.
Gardaí are to be given increased powers to question and to fine anyone deemed to be potentially in breach of the rules.
Among the news measures being considered by Cabinet are:
- Garda checkpoints outside airports to stop non-essential travel.
- Mandatory quarantine requirement for those arriving in Ireland without a negative PCR test.
- Introduction of much stricter sanctions in terms of the 5km rule - to prevent people from travelling long distances - or even leaving the country - for non-essential reasons.
- A ban on holiday visas and short-term visas for anyone arriving from certain countries in South America.
- Strengthening the passenger locator form, with more questions being asked and more follow-up checks being carried out after a person arrives in the country.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said: "Because of the risk of this new variant we're going to take a much tougher, much stricter, much more wary approach, while still allowing emergency essential people to come in.
"There isn't a silver bullet here, but what there are is a whole series of layers."
Speaking about an increase of sanctions with regards to the 5km rule, Ryan added: "If a road south of the border, five kilometres from the border, someone is on that road and doesn't have a valid explanation as to why they're travelling, they will be subject to prosecution and a fine and the guards have those powers."