The French embassy in Dublin is receiving “desperate” calls in relation to Ireland’s hotel quarantine system, according to the French Ambassador to Ireland.
Vincent Guérand said he believed the mandatory hotel quarantine system was too restrictive and said that the mechanism for exceptions and appeals was “insufficient.”
“We believe mandatory hotel quarantine prevents almost all travelling,” he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Over the last three weeks the French embassy in Dublin had received a large number of “desperate” calls from the French community, of which there were 25,000 to 30,000 members in Ireland, he said.
Many had to commute for medical reasons, for cancer and cardiac care and the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement prevented almost all from travelling.
“The exception mechanism is insufficient” as only ten per cent of cases were accepted, Mr Guérand said.
Ireland was the only EU State with such extensive measures, he added, saying he was asking that the measures be lifted within weeks rather than months and to allow more exceptional cases to travel without the requirement to quarantine.
Having to go to the hotel before making the appeal was also a difficulty, he said, which meant that many were not prepared to take the risk of travelling and appealing.
Mr Guérand said France had never closed its borders with any EU member state during the pandemic. They had introduced PCR testing and home quarantine. There were always exceptions and allowances were made for special cases, he added.
The Ambassador said that there could be better-monitored home quarantine and frequent testing.
On the same programme, a French national who lives in Ireland with his wife and four children told of his dilemma as his father in France is dying and he wanted to go home for his final days and funeral.
However, he did not want to have to quarantine on his own in a hotel on his return. “It is very stressful, it is inhuman,” he said.