Protesters on Luas encourage passengers to remove masks

by Rachel Darcy

An investigation has been launched by An Garda Siochana and Luas, as footage of protesters telling passengers to remove their masks circulated on social media.

The clip, which was widely shared on Twitter, was taken from a livestream broadcast on Monday, November 2.

In the clip, a group can be seen chanting in opposition to the current Level 5 public health restrictions and encouraging other protestors to remove their masks, while on-board the Red Line Luas.

The incident occurred following a rally at HSE headquarters near Heuston Station, by individuals opposed to the current restrictions.

It is an offence to travel on public transport without a face covering, with those who do not comply with the law subject to a fine.

Responding to the video, Luas has released a statement detailing that CCTV from the tram has been forwarded to Gardai for further investigation.

A spokesperson for Luas said: “An incident occurred this evening involving a group of people not wearing face coverings on board a Red Line tram.

“The Luas CCTV footage captured is high quality and is being passed to the Gardaí to assist them with their investigation into the incident.

“It is against the law to travel on Luas without wearing a face covering, with limited exemptions only.

“We thank the vast majority of Luas customers who cooperate and wear face coverings while travelling.”

In a statement to Dublin Gazette, a spokesperson from An Garda Siochana said: “Gardaí are aware of videos circulating on social media showing a number of individuals on public transport not complying with public health regulations and are liaising closely with Luas Security on the matter.

“The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face coverings on public transport) Regulations 2020 sets out the powers of ‘relevant persons’. Members of An Garda Síochána are not ‘relevant persons’.

“Members of An Garda Síochána can only act after a report or complaint by a “relevant person’ has been made.

“The regulations also provide for ‘reasonable excuse’ for not wearing a face covering.

“In respect of regulations which are declared to be Penal Regulations under the Health Act 1947 as amended, An Garda Síochána adopt the approach of the Four E’s which will see Gardaí engage, educate, encourage, and as a last resort, enforce. Where Gardaí find potential breaches of the public health regulations a file is prepared for the DPP in each case.”

Transdev have been contacted for comment.

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