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Health (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee Stage

Thursday, 25 February 2021

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 1004 No. 6

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Health (Amendment) Bill 2021: Committee Stage

  Section 1 agreed to.


An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl Amendments Nos. 1 and 31 to 42, inclusive, are related. Amendments Nos. 32 to 42, inclusive, are physical alternatives to amendment No. 31. Amendments Nos. 1 and 31 to 42 will be discussed together.

Deputy Alan Kelly: Information on Alan Kelly Zoom on Alan Kelly I move amendment No. 1:

In page 5, to delete line 2 and substitute the following:
“ ‘designated state’—

(a) on the coming into operation of this Act, means any country, territory, region or other place outside the State other than Northern Ireland,

(b) if at any time after passing a resolution under section 9(5) of the Health (Amendment) Act 2021 both Houses of the Oireachtas so resolve, has the meaning assigned to it by section 38E(1);”.

Our amendment will provide for mandatory hotel quarantine for all travellers coming into the State, with the exception of those outlined therein. We will also have to deal with the issue of essential workers. According to what is being proposed by the Government, travellers who have been in designated states within 14 days prior to arrival will be obliged to undergo a 14-day period of quarantine. They will be able to exit quarantine only if they return a not-detected Covid test on arrival and again on the tenth day of their quarantine. The rule in respect of non-designated states, however, is that travellers will be quarantined only if they arrive without a non-detected PCR test, until such a test is returned.

  Our amendment defines all states outside the island as designated states. It will allow for the Bill's proposed two-tier system of designated and non-designated states to come into operation only if the Houses pass an enabling resolution and only after an initial blanket three-month designation period. This approach will ensure that all travellers are quarantined for the next three months while we fight and suppress the virus and while the vaccination is rolled out, and will allow for a review after that. It will keep out variants and provide the comfort we need to give to the people that their sacrifices are worth it.

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