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high court action 'Dubai Two' to press ahead with legal challenge after release from hotel quarantine

An informed source said the two friends would persist with the legal challenge as they did not want to have potential criminal convictions.

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Kirstie McGrath, 30 (left) and Niamh Mulreany, 25 (right) at Tallaght District Court on Saturday. Picture by Fergal Phillips

Kirstie McGrath, 30 (left) and Niamh Mulreany, 25 (right) at Tallaght District Court on Saturday. Picture by Fergal Phillips

Kirstie McGrath, 30 (left) and Niamh Mulreany, 25 (right) at Tallaght District Court on Saturday. Picture by Fergal Phillips

TWO mothers are to press ahead with a Constitutional challenge to Ireland's mandatory quarantine regime, even though they will be released long before the lawsuit can be decided.

Under a timetable set by the High Court, it will be April 20 at the earliest before a date can be set for the hearing of the action by Niamh Mulreany (25) and Kirstie McGrath (30).

By that stage they will have completed the 12-day hotel quarantine they allegedly sought to avoid after returning from a trip to Dubai.

An informed source said the two friends would persist with the legal challenge as they did not want to have potential criminal convictions.

Both were charged with breaching the Health Act after allegedly refusing to go to a quarantine hotel after arriving at Dublin Airport on Friday.

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Kirstie McGrath

Kirstie McGrath

Kirstie McGrath

They have denied the charges.

The two women had been in Dubai for breast enhancement surgery but did not go ahead with the procedures.

They claimed they had been gifted the trip and that when they left for Dubai they had been unaware of the requirement to quarantine on their return and could not afford to pay for it.

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Niamh Mulreany attending court

Niamh Mulreany attending court

Niamh Mulreany attending court

Ms Mulreany's parents Eddie Freeman and Sabrina Mulreany have claimed the two women were "being treated worse than animals" and that the matter had turned into "a complete circus".

The affair took a further twist yesterday when it emerged Ms McGrath returned a false positive for Covid-19 while being held at the Dóchas Centre women's prison in Mountjoy at the weekend.

Further tests carried out by the HSE on Sunday night - after the High Court ordered their release from prison and transfer to a quarantine hotel - returned negative results.

Ms Mulreany, of Scarlett Row in Dublin, and Ms McGrath, from Rialto in Dublin, had already had three negative PCR tests and an antibody exam.

One ground of the constitutional challenge is expected to focus on the proportionality of requiring them to quarantine in circumstances where they had tested negative several times already.

Another potential ground being examined by their legal team is that the legislation has created a rare "absolute liability offence", for which no defence is available.

A further potential ground is whether it is lawful for an appeals officer to restrict their liberty.

The pair were granted bail at Tallaght District Court on Saturday but remained in custody and were detained at the Dochas Centre as they could not secure funds to pay bonds and independent sureties.

On Sunday the High Court ordered they be allowed leave prison, but directed they continue to quarantine at a designated hotel.

Ms Mulreany's parents said both women returned negative results to Sunday night's tests.

Her mother Sabrina, who is a frontline worker, said: "Niamh and Kirstie are being made examples of. It's as simple as that and the question has to be asked, why?

"When those girls got on to the plane in Dubai they did not have Covid-19.

"The girls left Ireland on the morning of March 24 and the new rules on quarantining did not come in until March 26, two days later, so why is this happening?

"These two girls are not statistics and what is happening is having an awful effect on them."

She claimed the two women had been "treated worse than animals".

"They were kept in awful conditions in prison and left in a Garda van for almost four hours in the heat prior to their court appearance on Saturday as they could not enter the courthouse due to Covid-19 restrictions," she said.

"Both girls are suffering."


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