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Harris says mandatory passenger form for those arriving in Ireland from next week

The Minister for Health addressed reporters this evening.

Image: Leon Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

MINISTER FOR HEALTH Simon Harris has announced that, from next week, it will be mandatory for anyone who arrives to this country through airports and ports to sign a Public Health Passenger Locator form and they’ll be asked to self-isolate for 14 days. 

Also from next week, anyone arriving in Ireland will have to fill out a mandatory passenger location form and could face follow-up checks to ensure that people are staying where they said they would be.

Harris also said at a press conference this evening that no non-essential travel outside Ireland should take place in the immediate future. 

The government will continue to monitor proposals for mandatory self-isolation regimes, he said.

“We continue to advise everyone against non-essential travel,” Harris said. “However, if a person does arrive into Ireland, they will legally be obliged to fill out this form, regardless of their nationality.

The form will be used to facilitate a system of follow up checks to make sure people who travel to the country are staying where they said that they would. The form will also ensure more accurate and quicker contact tracing, should we have a confirmed case on a flight or ferry coming into Ireland.

“Every measure we take is aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 and protecting people from this virus. This is no different.”

New regulations set to take effect from Thursday 28 May will provide for fines of up to €2,500 or up to six months’ imprisonment for the following:

- Failure to complete and give the form to a relevant person

- Providing information that to the person’s knowledge is false or misleading (whether on the form, when presenting the form, or in subsequent follow-up checks)

- Failure to provide further information to a relevant person upon request (who suspects that the form has not been completed properly)

- Failure to update residence or contact details if they change within 14 days of arrival into the State.

There are a number of exceptions where people will not have to complete this form, and that includes aircraft crew, diplomats and international transport workers. 

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These rules will initially last until 18 June, when they will be reviewed.

The measures were criticised as “unworkable” and “unimplementable” by Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson (Michael O’Leary is the CEO of the wider Ryanair group).

He told RTÉ’s Drivetime that it “dent confidence on people travelling to Ireland”. 

“It sounds great but it doesn’t work,” he said. “You’re saying to people Ireland is closed, when Spain is open, Greece and Portugal as well. We need to restore air links and air travel.”

In the UK, it was announced this evening that similar measures will come into effect on new arrivals from 8 June. However, it won’t apply to people coming from Ireland. 

Harris said today he was eager to align as closely as possible to the UK in this regard.

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Sean Murray

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