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People trying to holiday abroad will face €500 fines from Monday

People found attempting to take a holiday abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic will face €500 fines from Monday, under regulations signed on Friday.


by Jennifer McShane
31st Jan 2021
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Under new regulations, the Government will fine €500 to those who breach travel restrictions by making non-essential journeys abroad. Work is continuing on legislations for a raft of other travel restrictions, however, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly signed the first of the regulations to implement measures relating to travel on Friday.

An increased fine of €500 will apply to people caught travelling to a port or airport to leave the State without a reasonable excuse – or anything that is not deemed essential travel – from Monday, February 1st.

The penalty is increased from the €100 fine that can be imposed for breaches of the 5km travel limit on non-essential domestic travel.

“Work on other regulations around mandatory quarantine and the operation of same is continuing and should be completed in the coming days,” a spokesman for the Health Minister said.

New travel restrictions

Earlier this week, the Government announced a number of new measures designed to discourage non-essential travel into the Republic during the pandemic.

These include a mandatory quarantine in a designated facility for international travellers who arrive into Ireland without a negative PCR test, and for those arriving from Brazil and South Africa amid the spread of new variants.

Those quarantining at home can continue to exit the 14-day period early with a negative test for the virus on Day 5 or later.

Those arriving from Brazil and South Africa will also be required to quarantine for 14 days in a dedicated facility. They will not be permitted to exit this quarantine early with a negative test for Covid-19.

Visa-free short term travel from South America and South Africa is also suspended until at least March 5th.

In all other cases, passengers will be newly required by law to quarantine at home for 14 days, with legislative work to implement this to get underway immediately so that it has a legal basis.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee also said on Thursday that the Government is exploring ways to impose fines on people travelling more than 5km across the Border from Northern Ireland without a valid reason, but said it was “not straightforward.”

There are also reported plans for Garda checkpoints 5km from the Border to crack down on non-essential travel between the two jurisdictions.