Length of asylum seekers’ quarantine period ‘concerning’ – refugee council

People who apply for protection still required to quarantine in allocated hotels

Nick Henderson of the Irish Refugee Council: ‘We are working with vulnerable people, including families, who have been in quarantine beyond the stated period.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

Nick Henderson of the Irish Refugee Council: ‘We are working with vulnerable people, including families, who have been in quarantine beyond the stated period.’ Photograph: Tom Honan

Your Web Browser may be out of date. If you are using Internet Explorer 9, 10 or 11 our Audio player will not work properly.
For a better experience use Google Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

 

It is “very concerning” that a “significant number” of asylum seekers arriving in Ireland have been required to quarantine beyond the time required by the travel regulations, the Irish Refugee Council has said.

The council raised concerns on Wednesday night in relation to people who apply for international protection being required to quarantine beyond the required period.

It said that while mandatory hotel quarantine ended in September, people who apply for protection are still required to quarantine in allocated hotels in the absence of home quarantine.

Due to an apparent lack of capacity in onward accommodation, people have been kept in quarantine longer than the required time, it said.

Figures obtained by Independent TD Catherine Connolly state that, since January 2021, 884 people out of a total of 2,890 people have stayed in quarantine beyond the 14 days. The average length of stay for those staying beyond 14 days is 21 days.

Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council said: “It is very concerning that a significant number of people have been required to quarantine beyond the time required by the travel regulations.

“This is apparently due to the lack of onward accommodation to which they can be moved. We are working with vulnerable people, including families, who have been in quarantine beyond the stated period.

“We urge the Government to ensure people can move out of quarantine upon five days if they have a negative test in line with public health guidance and as applies to other arrivals into the State.”

“We wrote to the Government in February 2021 flagging that people seeking protection are likely to have specific needs, including medical supports and need access to legal advice, while in quarantine. The isolation of spending 14 or more days alone in a hotel room in a new country may compound a person’s trauma.”

“We understand that it is a not a specific policy to keep people in quarantine, rather a consequence of the lack of capacity in Balseskin reception centre. However, the situation is very concerning and should not continue, particularly in the case of children and vulnerable people.”