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Gardaí are continuing to conduct checkpoints at Dublin Airport.
Gardaí are continuing to conduct checkpoints at Dublin Airport.
Image: Twitter

Going to the airport to leave the State without a valid reason is now an offence

People in breach may be subject to a fine of €500.
Feb 1st 2021, 12:19 PM 149,781 126

IT HAS NOW made a specific offence to travel to an airport to leave the country without a reasonable excuse.

The provision was introduced by way of a Statutory Instrument signed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly on Friday and means that people in breach can now be subject to a fine of €500.

The specific offence was introduced under the provisions of the emergency Covid-19 measures that were passed in the Dáil last year. 

Last week the government sought to clamp down on travel into and out of the country and announced its intention to introduced a system of mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals

Taoiseach Micheál Martin was specifically critical of people who may be leaving the country and returning for the purposes of a holiday

Gardaí also increased their visible presence at entry points, including checkpoints at airports to ensure people were travelling for essential reasons.

The bolster these efforts, a specific offence is now in force that makes it a penal offence for individuals to “leave his or her place of residence to go to an airport or port for the purpose of leaving the State without reasonable excuse”.

Among the reasonable excuses include:

  • to leave the country if not ordinary a resident
  • for work reasons
  • to provide the functions of an elected office holder
  • for educational reasons
  • to attend a medical or dental appointment
  • seek medical assistance for themselves or a vulnerable person
  • to attend to vital family matters (including providing care to vulnerable persons)
  • to attend a funeral
  • to fulfil a legal obligation (such as attend court)
  • child access arrangements 

Regulations surrounding the mandatory quarantining of individuals arriving in the State has not yet been published.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said last week it may take “a few weeks to operationalise” the new travel restrictions. 

The plans would compel people arriving into this country to undertake mandatory quarantine either at home or in a hotel.  “In most cases” people would be quarantining at home.

Persons arriving from Brazil and South Africa or those without a negative PCR test will be required to quarantine in a designated facility such as a hotel, with that quarantine lasting for 14-days.

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Rónán Duffy

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