SCAREMONGERING that Ireland was heading down the road towards becoming a police state with the imposition of restrictions on people’s movements from their homes during the two months of the ‘lockdown’ aimed at slowing down the spread of the Covid-19 virus has proven unfounded. It was always only going to be a temporary scenario and those who tried to concoct an ominous conspiracy theory were well wide of the mark.
All legislation underpinning it was temporary in nature for starters and, while some people became irked and quite stubborn about being told what they could or couldn’t do by the State, there was a general buy-in to what needed to be done to suppress the virus. Policing the restrictions was mainly done by consent and with patience and restraint by An Garda Síochána and the policing authority kept tabs on them and were satisfied with their handling of the situation.
Of course, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and other concerned bodies were right to flag any concerns they had about enforcing the regulations, as – after all – ‘the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.’
But, even they must concede that the gardaí’s light touch enforcement was acceptable.