European politicians support calls for quarantine 'fairness' by Irish Italian community

European Politicians Support Calls For Quarantine 'Fairness' By Irish Italian Community
A member of the defence forces escorts a passenger from Terminal 2 arrivals hall at Dublin Airport. Photo: PA Images.
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Louise Walsh

A number of European politicians have rowed in on concerns led by the Italian community in Ireland that the current quarantine system is discriminatory against citizens of certain countries.

A letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, voicing the distress of some of their constituents and asking Ireland to "find solutions" for Irish residents faced with the financial constraints of quarantine after travel to countries on the list, was sent on April 17th.


The correspondence is co-signed by Alexandre Holroyd, member of the Assemblée Nationale for French citizens in Northern Europe, Massimo Ungaro, member of Camera dei Deputati for Italian citizens in Europe and Laura Garavini, member of Senato della Repubblica for Italian citizens in Europe.

This measure... is causing an undue burden on many foreign citizens

The letter states: "The Republic of Ireland has recently introduced a mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from sixteen additional countries including France and Italy.

"While this measure may seem necessary to limit the spread of the virus, it is causing an undue burden on many foreign citizens who in the case of an emergency, which would justify needing to travel abroad, would be unable to do so because of the cost of quarantine upon return.


"The protection of public health in Ireland is an unquestionable priority, and hotel quarantines are legitimate means to ensure this result where there are no other alternatives.

"However, where those entering Ireland have a permanent residence where they can safely quarantine, this could be an alternative solution to facilitate essential travel.

"As members of foreign Parliaments representing their citizens living in Ireland, we naturally understand that this is a debate and a decision which fully rests in the hands of the Irish government.

We would like to take this opportunity to voice the distress of some of our constituents living in Ireland


"However, we would like to take this opportunity to voice the distress of some of our constituents living in Ireland who may be compelled to travel for essential reasons such as the funeral of a loved one and find themselves unable to return to their own residence in view of the financial constraints associated with the quarantine regime.

"As vaccine campaigns pick up pace all over the European Union, the light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to shine brighter. We can hope to travel again soon and reunite with our families and friends regardless of where they live, fully embracing the benefits of the freedom of movement we have become accustomed to.

"We are most obliged for any actions that may be undertaken to find solutions for those Irish residents faced with such exceptional circumstances."

Facebook group

The letter follows concerns from a large number of Italians living in Ireland, as well as French, Belgian and Austrian residents, who must pay almost €2,000 per person for hotel quarantine in Ireland if they have to travel to their homeland for work or emergency family matters.


Member of the Facebook group 'EU and Non EU Citizens living in Ireland and the Mandatory Hotel Quarantine', Emiliana 'Emi' Capurro says they just want transparency on the decisions to place some European countries on the quarantine list and not others.

Ms Capurro has been living in Ireland for 22 years and works as a vet and animal cardiologist in Skerries, Co Dublin.

Emiliana 'Emi' Capurro has been living in Ireland for 22 years and works as a vet and animal cardiologist in Skerries, Co Dublin.

"Since the 16th April, Italy, France and Belgium, Luxembourg and Austria have been added to the list which we believe is contravening article 20 and 21 or EU law that EU citizens have a right to move freely within EU member states," she said.


"We have contacted numerous politicians and agencies across Europe with our concerns.

"The EU is supposed to be all one but why can a German citizen come back to Ireland and isolate in his own home here for five days and return to work with a negative PCR test but if we come back, we can't go home. We have to pay almost €2000 per person to stay in what Minister Stephen Donnelly described himself as a fancy version of prison.

"This isn't just other nationalities living here but Irish families who are stuck in Italy or other countries on the list because they can't afford to pay thousands to quarantine.

In just a few weeks, 1,400 people have joined the Facebook group to express their concerns

"I could've understood this type of quarantine in February when numbers were sky-rocketing but the vaccination rollout is underway across Europe so it's a little late, I think.

"In so-called Covid hotels in Italy, if people have to travel to the country for essential journeys like work or a funeral and have nowhere to stay there or don't own any accommodation there, the Government pay for their quarantine for six days — otherwise they can return to their home there to isolate.

"Most Italians have been in Ireland more time than they've been in Italy.  I've been here 22 years and I don't want to go back to eat pizza or my mother's bolognese but I do want the right to return home if there is an emergency, without the fear of having the funds to pay for quarantine on my return.

"We are all EU citizens and should be treated equally.  You open the borders for all or close them for all.  Many nationalities living here think it's unfair and in just a few weeks, 1,400 people have joined the Facebook group to express their concerns.

"It's like we are not trusted to go home and self-isolate but a German is trusted to do the very same thing?  No one minds having to self-isolate if necessary and there are plenty of unemployed people out there who wouldn't mind checking that we are.

"All we want to know is the reasons each country is put on the list and the scientific data behind it - we just want transparency."

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