Dublin gran excited to meet new granddaughter as Australia relaxes travel rules

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop has not seen her son, who lives in Sydney, for more than two and a half years
Dublin gran excited to meet new granddaughter as Australia relaxes travel rules

By Alistair Mason, PA

A grandmother is “super excited” to meet her granddaughter thanks to the relaxation of travel rules in Australia.

Ellen O’Malley Dunlop, 69, has not seen her Sydney-based son, Stuart Dunlop, in more than two and a half years thanks to lockdowns and restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 over the past 18 months.

During that time, Mr Dunlop and his wife Rebecca had their second child, who Ms O’Malley Dunlop has not yet been able to meet.

“She was born in the middle of our night here, and it was not an easy birth so it was very worrying,” Ms O’Malley Dunlop, who lives in Templeogue, Dublin, told PA.

“But thank God, everything was OK, she’s healthy and a gorgeous little girl.

“We’re so looking forward to seeing them.”

Australia has had some of the toughest travel restrictions in the world in place since last March, meaning nobody has been allowed in or out of the country aside from some rare exceptions.

It now plans to lift its ban on citizens going overseas next month, with fully vaccinated adults allowed to quarantine at home rather than in hotels.

“Thankfully both Stuart and his wife have been vaccinated which means they can, when they go back, self quarantine at home, which is good because it would be very difficult to quarantine in a hotel with two little children,” Ms O’Malley Dunlop, a victims’ rights advocate, said.

“Thanks be to God for FaceTime and Zoom so we were able to talk to them and obviously keep in touch with them all the time, but not knowing when we were going to see him was really upsetting.”

 

Ms O’Malley Dunlop said her son had already booked flights and she was “super excited” to know she would be seeing them soon.

She said: “I’m not looking back now, just looking forward, and I’m going to enjoy every second of them being at home.

“And obviously it will be such a treat to see them mixing with their other cousins.

“We have three other sons, and they’re all living in Ireland, and altogether we have seven granddaughters and one grandson, so we are looking forward to a very, very happy Christmas.”

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