The Government is sticking with arrangements not to assign gardaí to police Covid-19 quarantine hotels, despite breaches resulting in three people leaving a hotel over the weekend.
The three absconded on Saturday, the day after hotel quarantine began. Two were subsequently found and returned to the hotel to complete their 12-day quarantine period.
The third man who absconded is still at large. The Irish Times reports that gardaí suspect he may have travelled to Northern Ireland and that this was always his intention.
Private security working for the Tifco hotel group, the operator of the system, manage security at the Crowne Plaza, the hotel being used for quarantine near Dublin Airport.
Defence Forces personnel are stationed at the hotel in a co-ordinating role. But neither the Defence Forces nor private security have legal powers to stop people leaving.
The Garda are responsible for investigating any people who breach mandatory rules if they leave the hotel but they are not assigned to the Crowne Plaza to monitor compliance.
People can be fined up to €2,000 or face imprisonment of up to one month for breaches. The Defence Forces act as State Liaison Officer for the hotel operator and private security and co-ordinate with gardaí should they have to be called over any suspected offences.
Despite the breaches over the weekend, a spokesperson for the Taoiseach told The Irish Times that the Government expected public compliance with the hotel mandatory quarantine system “to be high”.
“It is important to remember that arrivals who are placed in mandatory quarantine are not prisoners, nor have they committed a crime,” said the spokesperson.
“Therefore, it would not be appropriate to have gardaí permanently stationed at designated facilities. However, the gardaí are there to investigate and police any breaches of the law.”