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Indian children of Irish citizenship denied boarding on Qatar Airways; Parents take legal action

DUBLIN: Complaints were raised after two small children of Irish citizenship were denied entry on a Qatar Airways flight from Cochin International Airport in South India. The children arrived at the airport with their mothers, who work at the HSE in Ireland.

They went to India for unavoidable essential reasons after being fully vaccinated. Ireland introduced the mandatory hotel quarantine system after they arrived in India. Accordingly, those arriving in Ireland via Qatar were required to enter the hotel quarantine.

The hotel quarantine system came into effect on March 26.  Initially, it was mandatory for all passengers arriving in Ireland from high-risk countries. But later the government gave exemptions But later the Irish government granted exemptions for those who had been fully vaccinated as well as children traveling with them.

Two HSE nurses from Donegal and Cavan, along with their two daughters, arrived at Cochin Airport in Kerala on April 21 to board a Qatar Airways flight to Ireland due to a shortage of staff in the workplace and the fact that those who had been fully vaccinated and their accompanying children did not require a hotel quarantine.  They had booked months in advance for a return trip to Ireland.

The husband of the Cavan health worker was also planned to fly with them to Qatar with them, but had to reschedule his journey through Amsterdam the next morning as he had not been vaccinated.

Following check-in, Qatar Airways withheld the children’s boarding passes, and it was decided that they would not be allowed to board the plane. The mothers were concerned and appealed to the Qatar Airways authorities in every possible way but they showed no mercy. It was the last day for the mothers to return to work, so they had no choice but to go.

Meanwhile, they contacted the Department of Justice via e-mail from the airport and received a positive response from department officials.

Immediate intervention from Irish government, yet…

The mothers sought help from the Irish Department of Justice at 12 pm. They informed the department that Qatar Airways refused to allow them to bring their children, despite the Irish government’s directive that fully vaccinated people can enter Ireland through restricted countries with their dependents.

The Justice Department of Ireland responded within an hour, stating that people who had been fully vaccinated and their dependents would not be barred from entering Ireland.

However, the airline did not take into account the Irish government’s stance. The parents told Irish Samachar that they will lodge a complaint with the government about the airline’s inhumane treatment.

Qatar Airways was not satisfied with the department’s statement that the children could fly with their vaccinated moms, and insisted on not allowing the children on board.

Soli Jason, who works in Donegel, and Sreelata Saji, who works in Cavan, plan to take legal action against Qatar Airways for the mental distress and misery they and their children have suffered.

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