Written answers

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Department of Justice and Equality

Dublin Airport Authority

Photo of Peadar TóibínPeadar Tóibín (Meath West, Aontú)
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480. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if he engaged in or received correspondence with the management team at Dublin Airport or the Dublin Airport board of directors in relation to flights from northern Italy from January 2020 to date; if so, the nature of the correspondence; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6530/20]

Photo of Charles FlanaganCharles Flanagan (Laois-Offaly, Fine Gael)
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My Department has no record of any engagement or correspondence with either the management team at Dublin Airport or the Dublin Airport board of directors in relation to the matter referred to by the Deputy.

I can inform the Deputy that in the interest of public health, the Government is requesting that operators of aircraft ensure that all persons entering the state are aware of the requirement to complete an Irish public health passenger locator form on arrival into Ireland. Passengers arriving by plane or ferry are requested to self-isolate for 14 days. They are provided with an information leaflet explaining the request and with a form to complete setting out their contact details and where they will self-isolate.

In the current climate we are operating in a situation where people should only be travelling where it is essential, and the numbers arriving into Ireland are very small, the majority of which are Irish citizens returning home. Any person intending to travel who may not be in a position to self-isolate should, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, reconsider their need to travel to Ireland at this time. There are a limited number of exempt categories of passengers, for example supply chain workers (such as pilots, hauliers or maritime crew members) or passengers who are transiting en route to another jurisdiction including Northern Ireland. 

On behalf of the health authorities, the collection of public health passenger locator forms and the system of spot checks and follow up calls are being rolled out on an administrative basis by officials from the Border Management Unit (BMU) of my Department of Justice and Equality and the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). The BMU operate the scheme at Dublin Airport on behalf of the health authorities, which, at this time, is the principal route through which people are entering the State by air.  

The BMU at Dublin Airport, on behalf of the health authorities, has established a system to follow-up on all arrivals at a proportionate rate of a minimum of 70%, after removal of the exempt categories of passengers. The cohort of passengers failing to answer initial phone calls are followed up with repeated further telephone contacts. The first calls are made two days after passengers have arrived into the State. For any passengers staying in the State for up to 14 days or more, a second call will be made on day 10 to ensure they are still residing at the address provided and self-isolating.   

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