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Cabinet opposed the “extreme measure” that would allow Garda to shut down house parties

The cabinet refused to authorize the garda to shut down private house parties.

Earlier this month, the government demanded that the Gardai be given the power to block Irish house parties in view of the spread of the Covid.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar had pointed out that although there have been clusters in workplaces and international trips, 90% of the clusters have been formed through the merger of private homes. This is why the government initially decided to send gardai to homes to interrupt the gatherings.

However, the Justice Minister, Helen McEntee, gave the reason for why the government later withdrawn from the decision when speaking to the media.

McEntee said allowing the garda to enter someone’s private home to close the house party would be an “extreme measure.”

“We looked at a number of options over the last week and a half and what we’ve decided today… is that a statutory instrument would be implemented, around the number of people which can gather in a home, it wouldn’t be a penal provision,” she said.

She added, people have complied with most of the rules and regulations imposed by the government, and then they want to work with the people here.

It is understood that there has been a lengthy discussion among ministers about how to deal with the house parties. Some ministers found the penal system to be impractical.

The Irish Civil Liberties Council, the Labor Party and Sinn Féin had all expressed their opposition to plans to grant the new powers to the gardaí.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin had earlier said that house parties were a clear violation of public health practices and that immediate sanctions were needed against them.

Tánaiste said 90% of cases and cluster infections are from private homes, therefore the number of people invited to homes should be kept to a maximum of six.

“No more than six people at any one time. No more than three households, that is really what we are asking people to do because that’s what will stop the virus spreading from person to person, and allow us to resume reopening our economy,” said Varadkar.

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