It looks like those in Tenerife for “urgent dental care” might be a little anxious about returning home, as the dentist surgery want to send names of Irish no-shows to the authorities.
Following the revelations on last week’s Today with Claire Byrne show, when a Roberta Beccaris from a Tenerife dentist surgery called in to say that she was receiving a flood of appointment requests from Irish people for an appointment, all of them asking for an email-confirmation and then not showing up.
Most have assumed that the appointments were a way to get around Ireland’s travel restrictions, the email notification needed to show airport authorities their “emergency travel” purpose. At least 50 Irish people had booked appointments at the surgery, requested email confirmation and did not show up.
“Clearly just want a holiday”
Beccaris mentioned that most appointments were made by young couples living in Dublin, whereas normally their Irish patients are older and few seem in need of emergency care. One booked an appointment for teeth whitening and another claimed to have a toothache but wanted an appointment in a few week’s time.
After the interview, she phoned back to say that since it had aired, they had received more requests from Irish patients and would now start charging upon booking. But now, the surgery, clearly frustrated by the no-shows causing an unnecessary burden on their business, are preparing a list of names of the no-shows for Irish authorities should they want it.
The surgery is located in Santa Cruz, the centre of the island’s tourist sector and with one of the lowest Covid-19 rates in Europe. However, despite their low numbers, Ireland’s infection rate is much higher, with strict rules surrounding inter-county and international travel still in place. Unnecessary travel fines are currently €500 and expected to rise to €2,000 imminently.
While the Gardaí are looking into the matter and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris told Ryan Tubridy on Friday’s The Late Late Show that those travelling to Tenerife for a dental appointment risked criminal prosecution, they’re not sure if they can retroactively fine people.
Fines are given out upon departure, so long as they leave with a dentist appointment (current rules state you can travel with a partner for essential medical, health, or dental services) they cannot be fined upon return for missing it.
However, the Gardaí’s continued interest will undoubtedly have the no-shows in a sweat about jumping on that flight home.