Two Irish women who travelled to Dubai for cosmetic surgery were released from jail in Dublin to quarantine at a hotel.
Niamh Mulreany, 25, and Kirstie McGrath, 30, were arrested at Dublin Airport on Friday. They said they had run out of money and could not pay for mandatory hotel quarantine.
Ireland’s strict lockdown permits essential travel only. Anyone who arrives from certain countries must go into quarantine for 12 days at a designated hotel.
People breaking the regulations could be fined €2,000 ($2,350) or be sentenced to jail for a month.
On Saturday, a judge granted bail for the women but ordered their bank accounts to be frozen and passports surrendered.
But they were forced to remain in Mountjoy Prison, because money to secure their release could not be raised.
Representing the women, counsel John Fitzgerald claimed their detention was unlawful under Ireland’s constitution and sought an inquiry to obtain their release.
At a hearing at Dublin’s High Court on Sunday, a judge relaxed the terms of their conditions and said they could go into quarantine at a designated hotel without posting bail.
But he denied their request to isolate at home where they would be reunited with their children, the Irish Independent newspaper reported.
Mr Justice Paul Burns said the Covid-19 pandemic was a grave threat to the Irish public and quarantine measures were in place to ensure people’s safety.
The women were barred from boarding a flight at Dubai International Airport on March 31 after revealing they did not have the €1,875 needed to pay for quarantine in Dublin.
They spent two days in Dubai airport and the nearby area, before Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs granted their request to return.
The pair were arrested upon their arrival in Ireland under Section 38 of the Health (Amendment) Act 2021. They said they were told by consular officials that they would be allowed to go into quarantine with their children, and that payment could be deferred.
The court was told the women were in Dubai to undergo cosmetic treatment.
Mr Fitzgerald said his clients did not have money for the quarantine stay, but had provided three negative tests to the authorities.
Their cases will resume on Friday at Dublin District Court.