No basis to claims mandatory quarantine is discriminatory, says O'Brien

Vaccinated people arriving into Ireland from a country on the quarantine list may now skip their mandatory hotel stay.
No basis to claims mandatory quarantine is discriminatory, says O'Brien

Former HSE boss Tony O'Brien says the Italian ambassador's belief that some countries are being discriminated against does not hold up.

The former head of the HSE says criticism that Ireland's mandatory hotel quarantine system is discriminatory is unfounded.

The Italian ambassador has claimed the measures are excessive and selective and wants them removed as soon as possible.

The European Commission has also urged Ireland to pursue less restrictive rules for incoming travellers.

Former HSE boss Tony O'Brien says the ambassador's belief that some countries are being discriminated against does not hold up.

"There is no basis on which you can say that this decision in relation to Italy or any other country has a particular discriminatory effect on the citizens of that country because it's applied equally to all travellers, whatever their nationality," said Mr O'Brien.

"Coming from countries where it has been decided that - due to infection rates or the presence of variants - there is a particular risk means people should be in mandatory quarantine when they arrive. That's not discriminatory."

Vaccinated people arriving into Ireland from a country on the quarantine list may now skip their mandatory hotel stay.

Families with newborn babies will also be allowed pass their quarantine period at home.

The Minister for Health signed new regulations to allow some exemptions to the pandemic travel controls.

Anyone looking for an exemption will still be required to show proof of a negative test for Covid-19 however.

Yesterday, the High Court ruled a fully-vaccinated South African woman's detention in hotel quarantine is lawful.

After a two-day hearing, Mr Justice Brian Moore found the emergency provisions of the Health Act challenged by Charlene Heyns are constitutional.

Liam Herrick, Executive Director of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, said without a better quarantine appeals system, more lawsuits are inevitable.

"This legislation was introduced in a very short space of time and already we are seeing the original version didn't allow enough flexibility," said Mr Herrick.

"What we would be concerned about is that there still doesn't seem to be in place an effective appeal system.

"In Australia, a senior lawyer reviews each case within one day. If we don't have that kind of robust appeal system, we may still see many cases going to the High Court."

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