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'it's farcical' Gardaí were given 'zero info' to find three absconders from quarantine hotel

A source confirmed that officers 'had no passport details, no photographs and no form of ID to work off when they tried to find these people'


Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin, one of the quarantine hotels in use

SENIOR sources have described as "absolutely farcical" the role assigned to gardaí in the policing of those who breach hotel quarantine.

Disquiet among officers is growing after it emerged that gardaí had to engage in a manhunt for three people who left mandatory quarantine last Saturday at a Dublin hotel.

Gardaí were only given the name and phone number supplied by each person.

"Gardaí had no passport details, no photographs, no form of ID to work off when they attempted to locate these people," a senior source said.

"One person was located in Waterford simply because he had earlier provided the phone number of a relative which enabled gardaí to be able to trace him that way.

"There is nothing to stop someone giving a false name or a false phone number in the situation that exists now," the source added.

One person who left mandatory quarantine at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry, near Dublin Airport, has still not returned to the facility.

He is a Northern Irish native and potentially went back over the Border.

One source said that "gardaí are getting pretty much zero information" when they are called in like they were on Saturday and "there is a huge amount of frustration about this".

"Even the information that gardaí are getting is often not accurate," the source said.

Gardaí are also concerned about how the online passenger locator form system is operating.

"People can fill it out and say whatever they like. There is no validation and no correlation in relation to these forms," the source added.

Meanwhile, it is understood that six pilot garda divisions have been tasked with checking people quarantining in their homes.

Sources say gardaí are encountering numerous examples of people giving false addresses and "vague addresses" at apartment complexes.

Travellers arriving from 33 countries deemed by the Government to be high risk for Covid-19 must quarantine for 12 nights at a designated hotel.

The new quarantine rules also apply to any passenger who arrives from any other country without a negative PCR test for Covid-19, carried out no more than 72 hours before they arrive in Ireland.

The Department of Health is in charge of the hotel quarantine system and the Defence Forces provide a security oversight at airports and hotels, with private security guards operating at the hotels.

However, neither the Defence Forces personnel nor the security guards has the legal power to stop people leaving the hotels, which is a criminal offence that can attract a fine of up to €2,000 or a month in jail.

Gardaí are called in when people abscond from the accommodation.

However, sources said information provided to the officers tasked with finding the people who left on Saturday was "completely unsatisfactory".

In a statement, the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors called on Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to fully acknowledge the role that An Garda Síochána must play in mandatory hotel quarantining.

It wants Mr Donnelly to immediately arrange vaccinations for members involved in that duty and across the organisation generally.

The three people who fled the Crowne Plaza on Saturday had earlier arrived on a direct flight from Dubai and were among the first group of passengers required to stay at quarantine hotels here.

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