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Immediate changes needed to Garda Operation Fanacht which is causing traffic chaos in Wicklow-Brady

Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has called on the Garda Commissioner to review the manner in which checkpoints as part of Operation Fanacht are being operated. With Operation Fanacht, 132 static Garda checkpoints have been rolled out across the State, a number of which are in operation in Wicklow resulting in major traffic jams.

Speaking in the Dáil on the issue Deputy Brady said “Under Operation Fanacht there will be fixed Garda checkpoints at 132 roads across the country for at least the next three weeks, with the whole country under Level 3 of Covid-19 restrictions. This is an attempt to try to halt people leaving their county for non-essential reasons. A number of these checkpoints have been established here in Wicklow.”

“Whilst I fully support the Gardaí in their work, these checkpoints in their current format have caused complete chaos in Wicklow. Over the last two days the M11 southbound has been reduced to one lane at Fassaroe for a checkpoint. This has resulted in tailbacks onto the M50 stretching for many kilometres. The lane reduction has been permanently in place, even when the Gardaí aren’t present.”

“I have been contacted by many people who have been caught up in the chaos, some for over four hours. One lady who contacted me was stuck in traffic for over four hours with a young child who had been emitted from Crumlin Hospital. Another, a nurse after finishing a shift in work was stuck for over three and a half hours.”

“Some people have been given the option to work from home and can do so, however the majority of people who are lucky enough to still have a job have to travel. We know that prior to Covid over 45,000 people left Wicklow daily for work, due to poor public transport the majority are forced to use their car. Now due to Covid restrictions capacity on public transport has been reduced by 50%, this unfortunately has forced more people into their cars.”

“Ordinary people, not breaking any guidelines are getting caught up in this chaos, they have no alternative and are doing nothing wrong but going to work, travelling to hospital or bringing the kids to school.”

Brady continued “Unfortunately under its current format Operation Fanacht has resulted in people missing hospital appointments, being late for work and school and has had a negative impact on the economy that is struggling to get up off its knees due to Covid.”

“It also serves to frustrate the public and makes achieving public buy-in to the necessary measures more challenging. Today in the Dáil I asked the Tainiste Leo Varadkar to communicate with the Garda Commissioner and ask him to review how these checkpoints are operated.”

Brady concluded “The Gardaí have altered two checkpoints on major routes into Dublin already and changes also need to be implemented here in Wicklow too.” 

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