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Visitors to the country facing being held for two weeks - and footing the bill



Minister Eamon Ryan

Minister Eamon Ryan

Minister Eamon Ryan

Passengers arriving into Ireland without proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be held in quarantine for up to two weeks under plans agreed by the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19.

Anyone travelling from Brazil or South Africa will also be held in State-run quarantine hotels for up to a fortnight.

The Cabinet Committee also agreed to temporarily suspend all visa-free short-term travel from South Africa and Brazil.

Anyone arriving without a negative PCR test will also face a fine up to €2,500 and/or six months' imprisonment.

Passengers will have to pay for their own stay in quarantine hotels, which may be policed by security firms.

The committee also agreed to increase Garda checkpoints near all ports and airports.

Gardaí will check travellers to see if they are returning from abroad without an essential reason for travelling.

If this is the case they will be fined for breaching the 5km travel restriction.

The current fine for breaching travel restrictions will be increased from the current penalty of €100.

A source said all new measures will take time to legislate for if agreed by Cabinet.

Meanwhile, gardaí have reminded the public that foreign holidays are "not deemed essential" as they announced around 1,500 fines have been issued in the past two weeks for breaking the 5km travel limit.

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said gardaí had put checkpoints near airports since Friday in an attempt to cut out non-essential flying.

He also told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 that there will be extra checks near the Border, but said the idea of restricting travel across the Border or creating an "all-island bubble isn't politically possible as of yet".

"If someone is on a road 5km south of the Border, and doesn't have a valid reason as to why they are travelling, they will be subject to prosecution and a fine," he said.

"The guards have those powers."

Since the introduction of fines two weeks ago, 909 people have been processed and about 645 fines are being ­processed.

Gardaí also reminded the public that if a driver is found to be in breach of travel regulations and more than 5km from their home, adult passengers can be fined as well as the driver.


This is also the case for adults who are stopped while cycling or walking.

A Garda spokesperson said its series of checkpoints and high-visibility patrols at public amenities across the country will continue.

He added: "An Garda Síochána is reminding people that they are only allowed to exercise within 5km of home.

"The 5km limit includes the distance travelled from a person's home to a location for exercise.

"In other words, you can't travel more than 5km to a location to exercise.

"In addition, An Garda Síochána is reminding the public that travel to airports and ports should only be taken for essential reasons."

Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey said: "The vast majority of people are complying with the non-essential travel regulations.

"We thank them for that. People need to adhere to the public health regulations to help save lives and reduce that pressure. 

"Please keep yourself and others safe by staying home. Limit your contacts. Practise social distancing. Wash your hands."