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Irish Council for Civil Liberties calls for mandatory hotel quarantine to be suspended

The ICCL says that the Constitution requires that the State employ detention as “a very last resort”.

Image: Sam Boal via RollingNews.ie

THE IRISH COUNCIL for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called for the mandatory hotel quarantine system to be suspended, if human rights difficulties are not addressed.

The ICCL said that the Constitution requires that the State use detention as “a very last resort”, and raised concerns in relation to conditions for families, and privacy in the hotel system.

The Council has flagged difficulties with the lack of clear and consistent criteria and decisions on designated states on the list – something that the European Commission has also raised.

The group also raised concerns about inadequate provision for consideration of individual circumstances and hardship cases, and an “insufficient” appeals process – which Israeli citizens have also raised as an issue.

The ICCL also questioned the “lengthy” stay required in hotel quarantine of at least 12 days and possibly up to 14, when international public health advice suggests 5-7 days should be sufficient.

ICCL executive director Liam Herrick said this afternoon:

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“The Irish Constitution and numerous international treaties contain a number of safeguards against arbitrary detention, including requirements of necessity and proportionality, and the requirement for a robust appeal process. Unfortunately, the reports on hotel quarantine so far shows that these standards are not being met.”

ICCL said it carried out an analysis of human rights issues raised by the system. 

It is not clear that government has fully exhausted all other options of disease control before reaching for quarantine, including supervised home quarantine and testing systems.
Criticisms of the mandatory hotel quarantine system have been raised since the policy came into force over three weeks ago. A number of High Court cases have been taken in the past week to challenge the proportionality of the system, particularly in cases of those who are fully vaccinated.
Last week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly announced a change in policy, stating that those who are fully vaccinated would be allowed to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine, and instead quarantine at home/at their place of residence in Ireland.

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