Hotel quarantine and personal rights


Sir, – Surely the proposed mandatory hotel quarantine measures are closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. The Government has caved in to populist demands about quarantine while failing to come up with a cohesive plan to tackle the pandemic other than reactive lockdowns and closures.

Ireland is not Australia and New Zealand. No one can be detained in this State by anyone other than a member of An Garda Síochána, who may detain a person without charge for limited periods from 24 hours to seven days under strict laws such as the Offences Against the State Act, the Criminal Justice Act, and for serious drugs offences.

If the mandatory hotel quarantine measures are enacted, who will enforce them?

Will every hotel or place of detention have a garda or gardaí present to ensure that no one leaves their room?

Or will it be left to private security guards employed by private security firms who have no powers of arrest or detention?

What if a person so detained files a habeas corpus application to the High Court? Can we expect the courts to ignore constitutional rights?

These are important questions relating to the proposed infringement of personal and constitutional rights. Why have the usual defenders of personal rights, such as Fintan O’Toole, Michael McDowell and the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, remained silent on this issue? – Yours, etc,




Co Wexford.