Cork MEP apologises for flouting public health guidelines to attend Taoiseach's election

Cork MEP apologises for flouting public health guidelines to attend Taoiseach's election
MEP Billy Kelleher has apologised for not quarantining for two weeks on returning to Ireland from Brussels. Photo: Sam Boal/

A Cork MEP has apologised for attending the election of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach last weekend, having flown in from Europe the day before.

Public health advice states that anyone flying into Ireland is supposed to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

Fianna Fáil’s Billy Kelleher flew into Dublin from Brussels on Friday and attended the Convention Centre the next day.

In a statement, Mr Kelleher said that he availed of Covid-19 testing services prior to leaving Brussels “in order to reduce any potential public health risk”.

However, he has admitted that he made a mistake not following Ireland’s public health advice.

“I accept that the risk could not have been eliminated fully and I should have followed HSE advice and remained at home. This was an error of judgement on my part and I apologise unreservedly,” he said.

It comes as Transport Minister Eamon Ryan confirmed that quarantine-free travel won't be allowed for another two weeks.

The list of countries Irish people can fly to without quarantining on return is now due to take effect from July 20.

Minister Eamon Ryan says they're also going to introduce testing at airports for some passengers.

“We, as an open country to the world, cannot completely isolate ourselves,” he said.

“Particularly because we are in a common travel area with the UK so what we will have to do is introduce further protocols to try and manage this, including testing in airports, not testing every passenger but targeted.”

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