New Irish travel rules will affect NI passengers

The Irish government is tightening its Covid-19 travel rules and some of the changes will affect overseas passengers who then travel on to Northern Ireland.

Existing Passenger Locator Form rules are to be amended to ensure NI-bound passengers complete the full form by providing a forwarding contact address.

The Irish government said it also intends to agree new „data sharing“ measures with the Stormont executive.

It follows NI ministers’ complaints of a lack of co-operation on travel data.

The changes were announced as the Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) outlined a series of stringent new measures affecting all overseas passengers arriving into the Republic of Ireland.

„The number of travellers coming into our country has absolutely collapsed and we have taken a number of decisions today designed to further suppress that number,“ Mr Martin said.

The plans include a „mandatory quarantine at a designated facility“ for anyone arriving into Irish ports or airports without a proof that they have tested negative for Covid-19.

„They will also be subject to a fine of €2,500 and/or six months imprisonment,“ Mr Martin said.

In an attempt to curb the spread of new variants of coronavirus, people arriving into the Republic of Ireland from Brazil and South Africa will also be automatically required to quarantine at a designated facility.

In the coming weeks, the government also intends to make it a legal requirement for everyone who arrives in the state from overseas to quarantine in their own homes, hotels or other accommodation.

However, legislative changes will be needed in order to enforce quarantine for Irish and EU citizens as well as those from the European Economic Area.

‘The Dublin dodge’

In respect of Northern Ireland, Irish Transport Minister Eamon Ryan spoke of the need for collaboration on international travel rules with the Northern Ireland Executive and the UK government.

In recent months, Stormont politicians have expressed frustration about a lack of cross-border co-operation on international travel data.

Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann says he has repeatedly written to his Irish counterpart requesting that passenger locator information be shared.

„It has become increasingly clear through social media posts that the ‘Dublin Dodge’ is perceived as a way for travellers to travel to Northern Ireland in a way which cannot be followed up,“ Mr Swann said in a letter last September.

Currently, people who arrive in the Republic and travel to Northern Ireland do not have to complete all sections of the Republic’s Passenger Locator Forms, which are used to track and trace travellers.

But on Tuesday Mr Ryan said: „We’re going to amend the passenger location regulations to require all ingoing passengers, including those going on to Northern Ireland, to provide place of residence and address on the form.

„We’re going to conclude relations with Northern Ireland regarding data sharing and follow up with passengers who travel through Ireland to Northern Ireland,“ he added.

bbc news

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