Trespasser and Apprehended Offence

It is an offence to enter any building or its curtilage (surrounds) as a trespasser or be within the vicinity of a building in circumstances which give rise to a reasonable inference that the entry or presence was with the intent to commit an offence or intent to unlawfully interfere with property situated there.  It is subject to conviction on summary offence up to €2,500 euro or imprisonment up to 6 months or both.

It is an offence without reasonable excuse to trespass on a building or its curtilage/vicinity in a manner that is likely to cause or causes fear to another person.  A person so found by a member of the Garda Síochána may be directed to desist from so acting and then leave the vicinity in a peaceful and orderly manner.   Failure to comply is an offence.  The first offence is subject on summary conviction of a fine not exceeding €2,500 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both.  Failure to comply with the direction is subject to a fine not exceeding €1,000 euro or imprisonment for 6 months or both.

Entry and Damage

It is an offence to enter and occupy land without the consent of the owner or bring any object onto land where such entry or occupation or bringing the object onto the land

  • substantially damages it;
  • substantially and prejudicially affects an amenity on the land;
  • prevents the persons entitled to use the land for making a reasonable use and enjoyment of it;
  • renders the land or an amenity in respect of the land or its lawful use, unsanitary and unsafe;
  • substantially interferes with the land, any amenity on the land, and the lawful use of the land or an amenity on the land.

Where a member of an Garda Síochána has reason to believe that a person is committing one of the above offences, he may

  • demand the person’s name and address,
  • direct him to leave the land and to remove any object that belongs to the person or is under his control and
  • inform the person of the nature of the offence in respect of which it is suspected that he been involved and the consequences of failure to comply with the demand or direction

It is an offence to refuse or fail to give a name and address or give a false or misleading name and address or to fail to comply with such a direction. A member of an Garda Síochána may arrest a person without a warrant, who fails to give a name and address, gives a misleading name and address, fails to comply with a direction or is found committing an offence.

If a person fails to comply with a direction, the member of an Garda Síochána may remove objects which he has reason to believe the person brought onto the land or placed on the land in contravention of the above provisions.

A person who obstructs impedes or assists a person in obstructing or impeding a Garda in the execution of his duty above is guilty of an offence.

Things Removed

Where an object has been removed without the presence or knowledge of a person claiming to own or occupy it, the Garda Síochána may serve a notice on each person whose name and address could be ascertained by reasonable inquiry informing them where the object may be claimed and recovered and requiring the person to come and recover it within a month of notice, giving notice of the consequences of failure.

The object may be reclaimed if the person gives a declaration in writing confirming his ownership or authorisation to claim it, or entitlement to possession and if the Gardai so require paying the expenditure incurred in removing and restoring the object. The objects may be removed and disposed of, if they are not claimed or if the name and address of the owner can not be ascertained by reasonable inquiry.

An  Garda Síochána are entitled to sell objects at the best price reasonably obtained and shall pay or cause to be paid to the person who was the owner a sum equal to the proceeds where they can be ascertained.

A person guilty of an offence under this part of the legislation is subject to a fine of up to €4,000 or imprisonment up to one month or both

The owner in relation to the land means the person in lawful possession. He may be an owner, lessee or tenant or a person acting on their behalf.


An owner of land means in relation to land, the person lawfully entitled to possession, and) to the immediate use and enjoyment, of the land as the owner, lessee, ten-and or otherwise, or any person acting on behalf of that person;

Land includes land provided or maintained by a statutory body primarily for the amenity or recreation of the public or any class of persons (including any park, open space, car park, playing field or other space provided for recreational, community or conservation purposes) or is land within the curtilage of any public building, land held by trustees for the benefit of the public or any class of the public, and land covered by water. This Part does not apply to any public road.

The jurisdiction of the District Court shall not, in summary proceedings in relation to an offence under this Part, be ousted by reason solely of a question of title to land being brought into issue. Where in summary proceedings in relation to an offence a question of title to land is brought into issue, the decision of a justice of the District Court in the proceedings or on the question shall not operate as an estoppel in, or a bar to, proceedings in any court in relation to the land.

Crowd Control and Events

The Gardai have powers for the purpose of crowd control at certain major events which are likely to attract a large assembly of persons.  They may authorise barriers on any roads, lanes and means of access, within a mile for the purpose of regulating access by persons and vehicles.

Where a barrier has been erected, a Garda in uniform may by verbal or manual direction,  divert persons generally or particular persons whether in vehicles or on foot, to another means of access.  Where tickets are required for the event, they may prohibit a person crossing a barrier, who has no such ticket.  They may indicate that to proceed beyond the barrier while in possession of intoxicating liquor, disposable drinks, containers or offensive articles will render the article or liquor liable to confiscation.

A member of an Garda Síochána shall not prohibit a person from crossing or passing the barrier save for diverting the person to another means of access if it appears that the person is seeking to do so for the purpose of having access to his dwelling or place of business or going for another lawful purpose to a place in the vicinity of the event.

The failure to obey a direction or comply with notices or signs constitutes to an offence subject to punishment on summary conviction to a fine up to €1,000.

Where a barrier has been erected and it appears to a member of an Garda Síochána that a person on foot or in a vehicle has or is about to enter the place where the event is being to take place and the member of an Garda Síochána suspects with reasonable cause that the person has in his possession intoxicating liquor, a disposable container, or another article which, having regard to the circumstances and the nature of the event could be used to cause injury, then the person may be searched to ascertain whether he possesses the same.

The person concerned may be refused to be allowed to proceed unless he permanently surrenders the liquor, container or article to the member of an Garda Síochána.  Failure to comply with a direction or order constitutes an offence for which the person may be prosecuted summarily with a fine of up to €1,000


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Draft Articles; The articles on this website are in draft form and are subject to further review for typographical errors and, in some cases, updating and correction. It is intended to include references to the sources of materials and acknowledgements in the final version. The content of articles with [EU] in the title and some of the articles in the section on Agriculture are a reproduction of or are based on European or Irish public sector information.

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