Court ends quarantine detention inquiry after woman's release

ireland
Court Ends Quarantine Detention Inquiry After Woman's Release
The court heard that Emma Kelly had been released after a Covid-19 test taken on Tuesday morning returned a negative result.
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Aodhan O'Faolain

The High Court has formally concluded an inquiry into the detention of a woman who had been undergoing a mandatory quarantining at a hotel following her return to Ireland from Dubai.

The court heard that Emma Kelly had been released after a Covid-19 test taken on Tuesday morning returned a negative result.

Two other separate challenges brought on behalf of two persons who remain in quarantine have been adjourned to later this week.

On Wednesday morning Mr Justice Brian O'Moore formally terminated an application for an inquiry into Ms Kelly's detention, on hearing that she had been allowed leave quarantine on Tuesday evening.

Father's surgery

She had been in quarantine at the Crowne Plaza Airport Hotel in Dublin, since she came home from Dubai, to assist her family as her father underwent surgery for cancer, on April 3rd.

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The judge had on Tuesday afternoon directed an inquiry, under Article 40.4.2 of the constitution, into the legality of Ms Kelly's detention after her lawyers claims that her detention was unlawful.

Her counsel Michael O Higgins SC, said that she had been released, and that there it was accepted that the inquiry did not need to proceed.

Counsel added that it was necessary for his client to seek the inquiry given that applications she made for release on humanitarian grounds had been resumed on several occasions.

Counsel said that Ms Kelly, a 33-year-old paralegal, had been vaccinated and had tested negative for the virus on several occasions.

The bar for release on humanitarian grounds under the scheme requiring arrivals into the state for certain countries to quarantine was set too high, counsel submitted.

Similar applications

The court also fixed the hearing of two other similar applications for inquiries sought by two women who remain in quarantine for Friday of this week.

The actions have been brought by Ballyfermot woman Philomema Meredith, who has been in quarantine since April 10th last after returning from Dubai where she had been visiting an ill relative.

She is a healthcare worker, who is fully vaccinated and has twice tested negative for covid19 in recent days.

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She requires medicines to treat a number of health conditions she has, and has sought to have her quarantine reviewed.

The second application has been brought by South African native, and Irish resident Charlene Heyns, who returned to Ireland from South Africa on April 9th last.

Medical treatment

Ms Heyns, a healthcare worker based in Letterkenny Co Donegal, had been in South Africa undergoing some urgent medical treatment.

She has a cardiac condition, and is distressed and concerned at having to quarantine in the hotel room by herself given her medical history.

She has got her first shot of a two-dose vaccine and has twice tested negative for Covid19 in recent days.

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Both are represented by Conor Power SC, who told that court that a timetable for the exchange of documents in the cases has been agreed with the state.

The actions have been brought on the grounds including that the women's constitutional rights have been breached.

There were also flaws in the system put in to individually review the cases of those subject to the mandatory quarantine that also rendered their detention unlawful, it is claimed.

Their applications are all against hotel operators Tifco Ltd and Tifco Management Services (Ireland) Ltd, and the Minister for Health.

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