Woman who challenged hotel quarantine rules calls for changes to system

Emma Kelly says she recognises need for measures to control spread of virus but believes application needs to be improved

Person who had finished their quarantine period departing the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry lasy week. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Person who had finished their quarantine period departing the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Santry lasy week. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

A vaccinated woman who has been released from mandatory hotel quarantine after testing negative for the coronavirus said she hopes the Government will establish a “safer and more logical” approach to quarantining.

Emma Kelly, who took a legal challenge while in hotel quarantine, flew home to Ireland from Dubai on April 3rd to assist her mother while her father undergoes surgery for cancer.

In a statement on Wednesday, she said she was “delighted with the outcome” and “extremely grateful” for the help of her solicitors.

The paralegal has been fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and had tested negative for the virus on several occasions prior to Tuesday, including a day after arriving in Ireland.

Ms Kelly said she understood mandatory quarantine should be implemented in some situations for people who have not been vaccinated.

However, she added: “I am of the view that the current facility is not fit for purpose and I hope that a safer and more logical approach is established.”

Ms Kelly left the Crown Plaza Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday evening after a Covid-19 test taken that morning returned a negative result. As a result of her release, Mr Justice Brian O’Moore formally terminated an application for an inquiry into Ms Kelly’s detention.

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 claimed her detention was unlawful.

Her counsel, Mícheál P O’Higgins SC, said it was necessary for his client to seek the inquiry given that applications she made for release on humanitarian grounds had been refused on several occasions.

The bar for release from State quarantine on humanitarian grounds was set too high, he said.

Ms Kelly also said she is “relieved” it has been clarified that individuals are not legally obliged to remain in quarantine and wait for administrative processes to be finalised, once they have received their negative result on Day 10.

“Many people in quarantine are receiving their PCR result to their registered mobile number approximately 12 hours after receiving their test but have been told to wait a further 24 hours in quarantine at the facility. I think that clarification will reassure many people, especially those in situations like mine,” she said.