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Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine law is sparking controversy

DUBLIN: Ireland’s mandatory hotel quarantine legislation has sparked controversy. Criticism has been leveled at the government that the plan prepared by the health department was formulated without adequate consultation.

In a letter to the Minister of Health, Attorney General Paul Gallagher stated that charging EU citizens to stay in mandatory quarantine hotels was illegal. As a result, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly’s plan to increase the number of countries on the hotel quarantine list is jeopardized due to legal concerns.

The right of EU citizens to freely travel between member states is central to the legal concerns. There are tens of thousands of Irish citizens living, working and studying within the European Union. The situation in which they are unable to return to their homeland is also serious. But government sources say such a problem has not yet arisen. Only Austria in the European Union is currently on list two.

A spokesperson for Minister Simon Coveney said that the “required consultation with the Minister for Foreign Affairs has not happened yet.”

According to several government sources, Paul Gallagher has raised a range of legal issues with the proposal to include more countries. The letter cites the difficulties that Irish citizens traveling from EU countries face while staying in hotels for two weeks, the government sources said.

Controversial recommendation came from Travel Expert Advisory Group

The Ministry of Health has considered adding several EU countries in the list, including France, Germany and Italy, based on the advice of the Travel Expert Advisory Group.

The Group has recommended changes to the hotel quarantine legal standards to include not only countries concerned about new variants of the virus, but also countries with high rates of COVID-19.

Currently 33 countries are on the high risk list. The new list includes 43 countries with new virus variants and more than 500 cases of COVID-19 per million.

Meanwhile, Minister Donnelly’s spokesman refused to comment on the matter.

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