Two travellers from Israel released from mandatory hotel quarantine

Derek Jennings, who is fully vaccinated, flew home to be with his dying father

Derek Jennings from Clondalkin, Dublin with his daughter Hannah, after he was released from mandatory hotel quarantine at the Crowne Plaza at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

Derek Jennings from Clondalkin, Dublin with his daughter Hannah, after he was released from mandatory hotel quarantine at the Crowne Plaza at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Tom Honan/The Irish Times

 

Two people who have challenged their detention in mandatory hotel quarantine have been released pending court hearings.

Both parties, an Irish man and an Israeli woman, had travelled separately from Israel and both say they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before arriving in Ireland.

Israel was on the list of countries from which travellers had to enter mandatory hotel quarantine. However it was removed following a Cabinet meeting on Friday.

Derek Jennings (47), who flew home to be with his severely ill father, has left mandatory hotel quarantine. The High Court has heard the man’s father may die at any stage.

Israeli woman Inbar Aviezer, who is a healthcare worker, has also been released. She has been in hotel quarantine since Wednesday and is fully vaccinated.

“I fully agree with the concept of the quarantine but the whole point of having the appeals system there is that it should be looked at logically. I appealed on humanitarian grounds,” Mr Jennings told The Irish Times shortly after leaving the Crowne Plaza Hotel Dublin Airport in Santry.

“My Dad is really, really sick in hospital but the appeal was denied twice. If my situation didn’t warrant humanitarian grounds, what does?”

Mr Jennings said he is fully vaccinated and has a “green card” from Israel showing this. He said he received a negative PCR test on leaving Israel and another one on Sunday morning.

“My solicitor jumped through hoops to help me. I rang him yesterday and I’m out 24 hours later,” he said.

Mr Jennings, who is an Irish citizen, began working in Israel in February and was due to remain there until May. He flew home on Friday having learned that his father, who has cancer, had collapsed and was in intensive care. He is in a critical condition and may die at any stage, the High Court heard.

Mr Jennings, who lives with his wife and children in Clondalkin, took two appeals against his quarantine, both of which were denied. The second appeal was lodged after Israel was taken off the mandatory hotel quarantine list.

His lawyers then asked the High Court to direct an inquiry into the legality of his continued detention on the basis of compelling and overwhelming humanitarian considerations.

In a document sworn by Mr Jennings’ solicitor, Michael French, the court was told Mr Jennings’ company, Tokyo Electron, arranged for him to fly home from Tel Aviv and booked him into the hotel as was required.

The court heard none of Mr Jennings’s family are allowed into intensive care to be with his father but that they are hopeful they might be allowed to spend a short time with him if his condition deteriorates further.

As well as arguing his detention was disproportionate and unlawful in the circumstances of the case, his lawyers also argued the quarantining legislation was unconstitutional.

Ms Justice Miriam O’Regan agreed to direct an inquiry into the legality of Mr Jennings’ detention and adjourned the matter until Monday morning when it is expected to be withdrawn by the State.

‘Unlawfully detained’

Ms Aviezer’s case will also be withdrawn when it resumes on Monday. Under the requirements of the Health (Amendment) Act 2021, she had been quarantining at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel near Dublin Airport since Wednesday after taking a flight from Israel.

She is challenging the constitutionality of her quarantine under Article 40.4.2, which allows for a High Court hearing into the legal justification of any detention.

She has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and has also had two negative PCR tests. She claims that she is being unlawfully detained. Ms Aviezer is moving to Ireland to work as a healthcare professional and to be with her fiancé.

At the High Court on Saturday morning, Mr Justice Senan Allen directed that the case be heard in front of the High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine on Monday morning.

The State was represented by Michael Cush SC and her counsel was Conor Power SC. Mr Cush said the State will argue that mandatory quarantine is fundamentally different from other forms of detention normally challenged under Article 40 of the Constitution.