Taoiseach Asks Health Minister To Increase Fine For Non-Essential Overseas Travel
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has asked health minister Stephen Donnelly to increase the fine for non-essential overseas travel to €2,000.
At present, the fine for non-essential overseas travel is €500, and as reported by The Irish Independent, an emergency health legislation amendment will be needed to increase the fine to €2,000.
The move is one of a number of measures that aim to clamp down on overseas travel to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Last week, new home quarantine laws were announced which require travellers who arrive in Ireland via either air or water to stay in their homes for up to two weeks after they arrive in the country. Travellers who break the new mandatory home quarantine laws will face fines of up to €2,500 and/or six months in prison.
Not A Sufficient Deterrent
During the week that ended on Friday February 5, 13,606 people arrived to Dublin from overseas destinations, 8,218 of which were Irish residents, and 5,241 of those Irish residents stated that they were returning from a holiday or visit abroad, and it is no longer believed that the current €500 fine is sufficient a deterrent to overseas travel.
The Irish Independent quotes Martin as saying, "About 60% of those travelling are returned Irish holidaymakers.
"There is a sense that €500 is not a sufficient disincentive to travel abroad. That will be increased."
Assistant secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach Liz Canavan said at a government COVID-19 briefing, "This is a very concerning statistic.
"While we all would love and need a holiday, now is not the time for travel.
"Unless you are travelling for a specific essential purpose, please stay at home and follow the guidance."
Gardaí have set up checkpoints near Dublin Airport to issue fines to anyone who is leaving the country for a non-essential reason. To do so is a breach of current level five COVID-19 health and safety regulations, and The Irish Independent quotes a government spokesperson as saying that "it is important that everyone understands and respects that".
© 2021 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.