Varadkar: Additional measures may be needed to counter Covid-19 threat

Additional measures to protect life from the Covid-19 disease may be needed in the weeks ahead, Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said.

Powers of detention contained within emergency legislation passed in the Republic are “necessary” to protect health, the premier added.

He said: “I am absolutely certain they are necessary in order to protect human life and human health and I absolutely guarantee people, effectively creating recession is not something any Government would ever want to do other than it being necessary at this occasion to protect human health and human life.

“The question really is going to be whether we need to take additional measures in the weeks ahead.

“We will have a better idea towards the end of the month if that is necessary.”

Mr Varadkar attended an attestation ceremony for new Garda police officers in Tipperary on Friday.

Attestation ceremony at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co Tipperary
Attestation ceremony at the Garda Training College in Templemore, Co Tipperary

More than 300 new Irish police will be deployed to stations nationwide to help respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

The trainees will bring the Garda’s numbers to its highest level of almost 15,000.

They are moving to the front line at an earlier point in their training than they would have anticipated due to the current “unprecedented” circumstances, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said.

Mr Flanagan said: “The 319 new gardai will be deployed to Garda stations nationally in the coming weeks, where their presence will maximise the operational availability of An Garda Siochana and its ability to support other vital services in response to Covid-19.

“An Garda Siochana has always been defined by a deep connection to community, a connection which, in almost 100 proud years of the organisation, has never been more badly needed.

“I want to assure those who are vulnerable, alone or afraid, you can count on our gardai. They will be there to reassure you and to help you.”