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High Court granted bail to women arrested for refusing to go to mandatory hotel quarantine

DUBLIN: The High Court has granted bail to two women who were arrested for refusing to go to the mandatory hotel quarantine after arriving at Dublin Airport from Dubai.

On Sunday, High Court Justice Paul Burns amended the bail conditions imposed on friends Niamh Mulreany and Kirstie McGrath, allowing them to leave prison but remain quarantined at a designated hotel.

The High Court amended the strict bail conditions of the district court and granted them bail. However, the judge denied their request to be quarantined in their own homes rather than a hotel so that they could be with their children. The court ordered that the COVID-19 public health guidelines be followed, and that they quarantine at the hotel.

Both women were arrested last Friday for refusing to go to a designated hotel. The district court on Saturday granted them bail. But they could not comply with the imposed financial conditions. They were later incarcerated at Mountjoy Women’s Prison.

On Saturday, the District Court granted the pair bail on the condition that they stay in the hotel and have their own bond of €800, of which €500 must be lodged. They were also required to provide an independent surety of €2,000, of which €1,800 was required to be lodged. In addition to staying at the designated hotel, they were instructed to submit their passports and not to leave the jurisdiction.

Their lawyers then approached the High Court questioning the legality of their detention. Lawyers argued that the mandatory hotel quarantine was unconstitutional. Lawyers for the Director of Public Prosecutions and the prison’s governor opposed to the application, arguing that their detention was valid.

They told the court that the country had imposed the quarantine law following the advice of experts.

The High Court granted bail on the condition that they behave well and post a €100 cash bond, with no lodgment required.

The judge also said that there was a waiver scheme in the Act to provide relief to people who could not afford hotel expenses. However, he warn that any violation of the quarantine law could place the visitors back in the same position they had found themselves in.

The two women attended the hearing via a video link from jail.

When they attempted to return to Ireland from Dubai on March 31, they were informed that they would have to pay €1,850 to be quarantined in a hotel. They were unable to pay that amount.

They were notified in Dubai that if they did not pre-book and pay for the hotel, they would be refused entry to Dublin. So they were not allowed to fly to Dublin for two days. Eventually, they agreed to pay, with the intervention of a public representative and the Irish consulate.

They both believed they could stay in a hotel with their children. But when they arrived in Ireland, they realized that they would have to pay the fee and that they would be unable to stay with their children. This is why they denied the hotel quarantine.

At the same time, officials said that they had released details about a mandatory quarantine the day before the women travelled to Dubai on March 24. The matter is set to return to court later this month.

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