Taoiseach: Fines for attempted holidaymakers to increase to €2,000

ireland
Taoiseach: Fines For Attempted Holidaymakers To Increase To €2,000 Taoiseach: Fines For Attempted Holidaymakers To Increase To €2,000
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has asked to increase the fines in place as a 'significant deterrent'. Photo: Collins.
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The Government is planning to increase the €500 fine for those found attempting to take a holiday abroad amid the Covid-19 pandemic to €2,000.

The change would mean a couple travelling abroad on an unnecessary journey could face a €4,000 add-on bill, if stopped on the way to the airport.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said he had asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to increase the fines as a “significant deterrent”.

“About 60 per cent of those travelling are returned Irish holidaymakers,” Mr Martin said.

“There’s a sense the €500 is not a sufficient disincentive to travel abroad — that will be increased, the Government is considering increasing that to €2,000 to act as a significant deterrent.”

It comes after new figures showed that the majority of the 110,930 passengers who passed through Dublin Airport in January were travelling for non-essential reasons.

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Some 4,500 people arriving at Dublin Airport last week had been on holiday.

Opposition criticism

Harsher fines for international travel, stricter quarantine controls and serial testing of healthcare workers should all form part of a new aggressive strategy to tackle Covid-19, the Dáil heard on Wednesday.

Opposition parties were strongly critical of Government proposals to begin reopening society over the coming months during a debate on a Labour party motion on a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy.

Described as “Zero Covid by another name” by Labour leader Alan Kelly, the motion has cross-party support among the Opposition, being backed by Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and People Before Profit/Solidarity.

Mr Kelly said that community transmission of the virus has to be eliminated if the country is to avoid “Lockdown Four”. He said that mandatory quarantine needs to be introduced “across the board” for international arrivals.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who talked up the reopening of society over the summer at a press conference on Tuesday, was dubbed “The Minister for Beer Gardens” by Labour’s Aodhán Ó Ríordáin.

Reopening

Mr Martin has previously said it is unlikely that there will be any significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions in early March.

On Tuesday, he said the Government will soon clarify if the country can begin reopening in March but cautioned that a cautious approach will be taken as Covid-19 figures remain high.

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He added that the long-term objective of the Government's strategy was “prolonged suppression” of the virus.

As it stands, current Level 5 restrictions are due to continue until at least March 5th.

On Monday, the Minister for Housing confirmed that construction sites will be allowed to reopen on that date.

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