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Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher apologises for not self-isolating when returning for election of Taoiseach

Kelleher said it was “an error of judgement” to attend the Dáil sitting in the Convention Centre.

billy k Kelleher tweeted from the Convention Centre. Source: Billy Kelleher/Twitter

A FIANNA FÁIL MEP has issued a statement apologising for not self-isolating when he returned to Ireland from Brussels last week for the election of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach. 

Billy Kelleher said this afternoon that he “should have followed HSE advice and remained at home” instead of going to the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting.

Today, the Sunday Times reported that Kelleher had breached guidelines by attending the Dáil sitting after his return from the European Parliament in Brussels. 

The current advice for all those arriving in Ireland from abroad is to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. The government has been considering so-called air bridges with other European countries that have managed to reduce the number of Covid-19 cases. 

These air bridges would mean that there is no requirement to self-isolate upon return. However, the publication of which countries will be included has been put back by several weeks by the government amid fears that the coronavirus could be imported back into the community from abroad.

7112 FF Health Service Crisis File photo. Billy Kelleher Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

Kelleher was one of a number of MEPs who attend last Saturday’s Dáil sitting where Micheál Martin was elected Taoiseach. However, they had not returned to Brussels since restrictions were imposed on the general public.

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Speaking to the Sunday Times, Kelleher said he followed social distancing requirements at the Convention Centre. He also said he had availed of testing facilities before returning to Ireland.

In a statement this afternoon, he said: “Last Saturday, I attended the election of the new Taoiseach in Dublin having arrived into Ireland from Brussels the day before.

“As I previously stated, I avail of Covid-19 testing services before in advance of departing Brussels in order to reduce any potential public health risk.

“However, despite this, I accept that the risk could not have been eliminated fully and I should have followed HSE advice and remained at home. This was an error of judgement on my part and I apologise unreservedly.”

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Sean Murray

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