Children who are members of a family arriving for quarantine at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Dublin. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
Travelers from the United States into Ireland will not be required to go into Covid quarantine - at least for the time being.
And those arriving from EU member states will similarly not yet be subjected to mandatory hotel quarantine, again for the time being.
But the exemption for the U.S. and EU only followed heated debate within the Irish government.
The Department of Health announced the extension of mandatory hotel quarantine to 26 countries and states instead of the 43 that had been mooted earlier in the week, the Irish Times was reporting.
"A major row had erupted within Government over plans by the Department of Health to extend mandatory hotel quarantine to 43 additional countries, including the US, France and Germany," the daily reported.
The report stated: "Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly met on Thursday afternoon to discuss the plan including concerns about EU citizens’ right to travel freely and concerns about the capacity of the system to cope with such numbers. The Attorney General has written to Mr Donnelly expressing legal concerns.
"It is understood there was pushback from Mr. Coveney against extending mandatory quarantine to those countries. Sources have said Mr. Donnelly is still in favour of applying the hotel quarantine regime to these countries or any country of high concern.
"In a statement on Thursday evening, the Department of Health said that advice about the remaining countries and states including the EU and US “will be considered in advance of the next Government meeting.”
That statement said: "Ongoing considerations will also address various issues including the operational capacity that may be required to accommodate additional travellers and issues related to the Common Travel Area and the need to consult with our EU partners. Further consideration will also be given to ways in which measures pertaining to those travelling from non-designated states might be further strengthened.”
While the United States is not on the quarantine list, arriving travelers from "The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico" are on the list.
The Irish Independent reported: "Despite public health advice, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has insisted passengers from the US and EU countries should not be required to pay for hotel quarantining on arrival in Ireland.
"It came after Health Minister Stephen Donnelly proposed adding 43 more countries to the quarantine list, including France, Germany and Italy. Mr Donnelly is still anxious to have these countries added to the list.
"Acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn also supported the addition of EU countries to the list over increasing fears about new variants and high-levels of Covid-19 transmission in these states.
"However, despite the imminent threat to Ireland’s Covid strategy, Mr Coveney insisted that further consultation and discussion with the EU was needed before more countries could be added to the list."