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spot checks Mandatory self-quarantine laws and restrictions on travel unlikely to be eased by summer

Minister McEntee told Newstalk Breakfast “some level of restrictions” are here to stay, at least for now.

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Gardaí will be carrying out random spot checks to ensure people are quarantining

Gardaí will be carrying out random spot checks to ensure people are quarantining

Gardaí will be carrying out random spot checks to ensure people are quarantining

New restrictions on travel, including mandatory self-quarantine laws are unlikely be eased by the summer, Justice Minister Helen McEntee, has said.

This week, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed regulations that introduced a system of mandatory quarantine for all arrivals into the State.

The regulations give effect to the recent Government decision to implement mandatory quarantine at home, meaning people arriving into the country must stay at their given address for 14 days.

Gardaí will be carrying out random spot checks to ensure people are quarantining at thus address.

Anyone found to not be quarantining faces a fine of up to €2,500 and/or up to six months in prison.

Minister McEntee told Newstalk Breakfast “some level of restrictions” are here to stay, at least for now.

"We've introduced the PCR testing for everybody and I can't see that changing even going into the summer,” she said.

"I think particularly as we're seeing variants change and adapt and new variants emerge, we need to keep these measures in place should the [Health] Minister need to identify a new country and for us to have stricter measures and quarantining measures.

"So I don't think this is something that will be here for the next month or two, unfortunately I think it will be much longer".

"I fully appreciate we all want a holiday, we'd all love to get on a plane and go somewhere warm and sunny - but given the fact that this changes so quickly I would just urge people to not so that yet.”

The minister also said that “we're going to have thousands of Gardaí calling to the homes of every single person that comes into this country”.

"There will be random checks to people's homes, ensuring that they are quarantining as they said they and as is the law to do so now,” she explained.

“We don't want people coming back into the country or leaving and coming back, what we're trying to say and get the message across is that you shouldn't be leaving in the first instance.

"But if you do, not only do you face a penalty of now €100 to €500 on the way out [and] potentially on the way back, but you could have a Guard calling to your door to make sure that you are actually quarantining because it is now the law to do so".

However, speaking earlier on Newstalk, Professor Sam McConkey described the regulations as “a step in the right direction but...a bit too weak”.

"I think we should have done this last February or March of 2020, and that would probably have limited the pain that we had,” he said.

"This law as it's framed, in my view, is intrinsically leaky - we're not leaky by some dint of our character or by our personality, we're leaky because we have laws that this that allow leakiness.”

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