Father and son challenge fines for leaving Ireland during Covid restrictions

Father And Son Challenge Fines For Leaving Ireland During Covid Restrictions
Nicolae Mazarache and his son Florin Mazarache were fined after they took a flight from Dublin to Spain to visit family members on April 17th last.
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Aodhan O Faolain

A father and son have brought High Court challenges against €2,000 fines imposed on each of them for leaving the country earlier this year.

The actions have been brought by Nicolae Mazarache and his son Florin Mazarache who were fined after they took a flight from Dublin to Spain to visit family members on April 17th last.


While in the airport they were stopped by gardaí who said that if they travelled they would be fined for breaching regulations brought in as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nicolae Mazarache, who does not speak good English, however believed that the gardaí were just asking his name, and understood that there would not be a fine.

They were subsequently received documents from the gardaí stating that they had allegedly committed an offence contrary to a section of the 1947 Health Act.

The notices said that if they each paid a fixed payment of €2000 within 28 days they will not be prosecuted.


Regulations breached

The applicants, who reside in Clondalkin in Dublin, claim the notice should be quashed on grounds including that the notice does not cite any particular regulation that has been breached.

The notice does not show jurisdiction on its face, and is therefore bad, it is claimed.

They further claim that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible for them to know to what extent they could be guilty of the offence alleged.

The particulars of the alleged offence are not sufficiently stated in the notice, it is also claimed.


Orders from court

As a result, they have brought judicial review proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Health.

Represented by Giollaiosa O Lideadha SC and Karl Monahan Bl the applicants seek various orders from the court.

These include an order quashing the notice that they committed an offence contrary to sections of the 1947 Health Act, and that in default of making payments of €2000 they will be prosecuted for the alleged offence.

The matter came before Ms Justice Miriam O'Regan on Tuesday.

The judge on an ex-prate basis directed that the applications for leave be made on notice to the respondents.

The judge also granted the applicants temporary injunctions preventing the respondents from taking any further steps to prosecute them for the alleged offences.

The injunctions are to remain in place pending further order from the court.

The actions were adjourned to a date in late June.

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