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16th Feb 2021

Irish holidaymakers may be issued court summons when returning home

Brian Dillon

Irish holidaymakers may be issued court summons when returning home

Irish holidaymakers may be issued court summons from Gardaí when returning home from trips abroad.

Reports have suggested that even though hefty fines are in place for Irish people travelling abroad for leisure, many are still opting to go on foreign holidays. The current fine for someone travelling abroad for non-essential reasons is currently €500, but this is expected to be increased to €5,000.

The Irish Times has reported that Irish people deciding to go on foreign holidays may a criminal record and jail time.

Last week, Taoiseach Micheál Martin explained that around 60% of international travellers arriving in Ireland are returning Irish holidaymakers. He said that “there is a sense that €500 is not a sufficient disincentive to travel abroad”. He has since asked Health Minister Stephen Donnelly to sign off legislation to increase the non-essential travel fine.

According to The Irish Times’ report, Gardaí will approach specific breaches individually as per Section 31(a) (7) of the Health Act 1947. This gives them the power to ensure these fines are paid. If those issued the fine refuse to do so, the offence could result in a one-month prison sentence, a €1,000 fine, and a criminal record.

Gardaí have set up roadside check-points around Dublin Airport since these restrictions came into play, issuing fines to people leaving the country for non-essential reasons.

Last month, the Taoiseach said that of the 800 people who arrived in Ireland through airports, 542 people were Irish and 397 were returning from holidays.

Earlier this month, Gardaí shared a fake employer letter which claimed to provide a ‘reasonable excuse’ for someone to undertake international travel to Tenerife. The letter claimed that the person travelling was an “Electronic Security Systems Provider which is an essential service in Europe and covered by the Irish Government advice of January 24th”.

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