Responding to intense public anger at the planned clampdown, Mr Dempsey said the Garda authorities would take a "proportionate" and "common sense" approach to implementing the regulations for two or three months.Ah, I see, but unfortunately the gardai don't quite see it that way. Or do they?
A statement yesterday afternoon from Garda headquarters appeared to contradict Mr Dempsey's assertion, saying gardaí would "fully enforce the laws in relation to this area". The statement added that gardaí would "where appropriate issue a caution/warning, notice or prosecution".So, we have a Minister who doesn't want his own law implemented and a police force that might be willing to see that his new law is not implemented. Hard to disagree with Labour Party spokesman, Tommy Broughan, who said, "the situation had degenerated into an absolute farce". Indeed. It's one of those satires that just writes itself.
However, reliable senior Garda sources said later yesterday that in reality, gardaí would operate a three-month grace period. "If a driver is stopped and driving alone is the only offence, it will mean a caution," said one source.
Other Garda sources said the force had been put in a very difficult position, adding that if the Government did not want the new rules enforced for three months they should have waited until then to introduce them.