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Government plans to increase fines for non-essential international travel from €500 to €2,000

The €500 fine was not seen as enough of a deterrent to stop people travelling abroad.

Garda checkpoint at Dublin Airport
Garda checkpoint at Dublin Airport
Image: Sasko Lazarov

THE FINE FOR travelling abroad for a non-essential reasons is to increase from €500 to €2,000, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

The Taoiseach is understood to have made the request to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, in a bid to add another deterrent against foreign holidays.

Government sources state they do not believe the €500 fine is seen as enough of a deterrent to stop people travelling abroad.

Non-essential overseas travel is a breach of Level 5 restrictions,  Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach Liz Canavan said today.

She said while people would all love and need a holiday “now is not the time to travel”, and urged people to stay at home unless they have to travel for a specific essential purpose.

Over half of the passengers arriving are Irish residents, and two-thirds of those are returning from holiday, she said.

Legislation for hotel quarantining for those from certain countries and for those without a negative PCR test upon arrival is expected before Cabinet next week.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said a lot of work is ongoing on the matter, with cross-departmental work being carried out on the location and size of facilities needed. He said the threat that travel is a significant contributory to the spread of the virus has “risen and fallen” over the last year, stating that it has been a challenge in “striking the right balance”.

He said the government is taking action to protect the Irish population from the import of new variants. 

While government sources state that foreign holidays might not be on the cards this summer, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told TheJournal.ie last week that domestic staycations in Ireland will be possible this summer, as was the case last year.

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He said yesterday that the Irish and UK government are discussing travel restriction plans, stating that he believes a two-island strategy would be best. Varadkar said Ireland and England should share the same red country list in relation to mandatory hotel quarantine.

Ryan told the Dáil today that more information on the countries that could be added to our list – which now includes South Africa and Brazil – will be released this afternoon.

Yesterday, aviation stakeholders said a State financial package is needed to save Irish airlines.

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