Man released from mandatory hotel quarantine calls for 'common sense' approach

A man who was released from mandatory hotel quarantine to care for his dying father after an appeal to the High Court has called for a more "common sense" approach to the system.

Derek Jennings, 47, is fully vaccinated but was forced to enter the facility at Dublin's Crowne Plaza hotel on Friday after returning from Israel.

Mr Jennings, from Clondalkin, had been working in Israel since February, but rushed home when his father, who suffers from cancer, collapsed and was admitted to intensive care during the week.

Mr Jennings said he supports the idea of quarantining foreign arrivals but described the system in Ireland as a "shambles".

He said: "I agree with the quarantine, I really do. I'm not against it.

"Logistically, from the moment we arrived in Dublin Airport it was a bit of a shambles."

He added: "I just think there needs to be a little bit more logical, open mindedness about the situation here.

"We're not criminals. People have openly put themselves in this situation.

"A more common sense approach (is needed).

"In my case, I appealed on humanitarian, compassionate grounds. I was refused twice.

"If my situation is not humanitarian or compassionate, I don't know what is."

Mr Jennings said he was very happy to be released, but remains very concerned about his father.

He told the PA news agency: "It's a big relief, I hope everything turns out well.

"The father is still very sick in hospital. We'll see what happens."

He added that he had spoken to two others at the hotel who are also appealing against their detainment.

"One has put in five or six appeals and each one of them has just been rejected and rejected," he said.

Mr Jennings said his experience in the facility had not been pleasant.

"It's not great, I have to be honest. The food is not great. The attitude of some of the staff at the hotel leaves a lot to be desired," he said.

He left the Crowne Plaza shortly after 3pm on Sunday, when he was collected by his wife Lisa and daughter Hannah.

Earlier, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said even fully vaccinated people must undergo quarantine as public health officials are concerned that they may still be able to pass on the virus.

He told Newstalk's On The Record: "We don't have an international certification process, we have to wait on health advice on that.

"There's still some concern with the health authorities that even post-vaccination, people may be transmissible, so they are cautious around that.

"But I would expect that will be a change that we will see in the coming weeks and months."

He added: "That process is not in place internationally yet and that does need to be there."

Mr Ryan added that mandatory hotel quarantine was not "foolproof" but part of a number of measures taken in the battle against Covid.

He said: "It isn't as if there's one specific measure.

"Hotel quarantine is a useful way of adding additional protection, but it's not foolproof.

"We still have an open border with Northern Ireland.

"We're not going to be able to close that border.

"So it's not as if this on its own is going to be the key measure to protect us.

"We still have domestic transmission.

"We still have about 400 or 500 cases a day.

"There's been about 10 cases, I think, from those four 400 or 500 people who have come in to date who have been positive.

"But actually we still have significant clusters within our own state, so this is a multi-layered approach."

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