Call for expats with a home in Ireland to avoid hotel quarantine

Trio of European politicians warn scheme is creating distress for citizens abroad

European politicians have called on Ireland to exempt some travellers with property in the country from hotel quarantine. Getty Images
European politicians have called on Ireland to exempt some travellers with property in the country from hotel quarantine. Getty Images

Expats with a home in Ireland should be exempt from hotel quarantine when travelling for compassionate reasons, politicians from France and Italy have said.

The call comes amid increasing pressure from EU countries for Ireland to drop aspects of its quarantine scheme for citizens from the bloc.

A trio of French and Italian parliamentarians argued in a letter to Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney that the cost of hotel quarantine was placing an “undue burden” on citizens who need to travel for emergency reasons.

The letter is co-signed by French National Assembly member Alexandre Holroyd and Italian parliament members Massimo Ungaro and Laura Garavini.

They said they wanted to be the “voice of distress” for Irish citizens living around the world.

Irish citizens “may be compelled to travel for essential reasons, such as the funeral of a loved one, and find themselves unable to return to their own residence in view of the financial constraints associated with the quarantine regime,” they said in the letter, seen by the Irish Times.

Ireland’s hotel quarantine system has suffered a number of legal challenges in recent weeks from citizens who complained of the need to quarantine even though they were fully vaccinated.

Ireland last week agreed to changes that mean travellers who are inoculated with European-approved vaccines will be allowed to quarantine at home.

However, the move was a disappointment for expats in some countries who use alternative vaccines such as the China-made Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V.

The UAE, Bahrain, Hungary and Indonesia are among countries that use Sinopharm and Sputnik V as part of their vaccine drives.

Mr Ungaro called for the extension of home quarantine to unvaccinated travellers who are travelling in an emergency.

He said the €1,875 (£1,614) cost of staying in a hotel was creating “huge financial distress”.

The European Commission last week questioned why some travellers from some EU countries were required to spend quarantine in a hotel and others were not.

“The Commission is looking into these measures as there are some concerns in relation to the general principles of EU law, particularly proportionality and non-discrimination,” EU Commission spokesman Christian Wigand said.

“We are in contact with the Irish authorities and will ask them for clarifications on this matter and the criteria used to determine the designated countries.”

Published: April 22, 2021 02:32 PM

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