IRISH MEMBERS OF the European Parliament have composed to the Taoiseach to ask for an exemption from the 14- day quarantine if they receive a negative Covid-19 test lead to order to allow them to do their jobs “completely”, following on from the golfgate controversy.
As it stands, Ireland’s public health guidance says that any visitors arriving in Ireland from a non-Green List country must limit their movements for 14 days.
Ireland categorizes MEPs as essential employees for domestic travel purposes, along with TDs, senators and councillors.
They are exempt from certain Covid-19 limitations (which are no longer in effect)– however this exemption does not use to foreign travel, meaning they should abide by the very same quarantine guidelines as residents who take a trip abroad for non-essential factors.
This implies that although MEPs are deemed as necessary employees in both Belgium and Ireland, when travelling from Belgium (a non-Green List nation) to Ireland, Ireland does not deem MEPs to be necessary employees. The same applies to government ministers.
MEPs Billy Kelleher (Fianna Fáil), Seán Kelly (Fine Gael), and Ciarán Cuffe (Green Celebration) have written a joint-letter to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin to ask for MEPs to be made exempt from the 14- day quarantine if they get a negative Covid-19 test result before and after travel.
This request for versatility comes as the European Parliament reconvenes this week after the summertime break.
” To completely perform our responsibilities, we require to attend in person,” the letter states. “MEPs can not speak at plenary sessions of Parliament unless they remain in physical presence.”.
Under the current guidelines, each of us should quarantine for 2 weeks upon our go back to Ireland. This considerably restricts our activities when we are home.
MEPs take a trip back to Ireland in order to visit their families, to engage with constituents, and when there is a break in the Parliament schedule that indicates they need not participate in.
The 3 MEPs– heads of delegation for their respective parties– mentioned that there are checking centers readily available on arrival to or departure from the EU’s parliament.
” We believe pre-and post-travel Covid-19 screening would decrease the prospective risk of infection and transmission of the virus and allow Irish MEPs to perform their jobs fully,” the three MEPs stated, stressing that votes and arguments are due to be held in relation to the EU Recovery Strategy, the European Green Offer, the Simply Transition Fund and Brexit.
” We comprehend that guideline[s] for vital workers are under consideration, and hope that the needs of those in comparable situation[s] can be taken into account, whether it be long-distance Heavy Goods Lorry drivers or Federal government ministers.”
The letter was also sent out to the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister for Transportation Eamon Ryan.
The European Parliament is to sit weekly in either Brussels or Strasbourg in France up until the Christmas break.
The European Parliament is based in Strasbourg, France; MEPs’ offices are based in Brussels, where plenary sessions of the European Parliament are likewise held.
The European Parliament’s rules
Ireland’s 14- day quarantine requirement for visitors was scrutinised recently after former EU Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan said he didn’t quarantine for the required 14- day period after getting an unfavorable Covid-19 test result in an Irish healthcare facility.
A comparable concern emerged in July, when Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher apologised after not limiting his motions upon his go back to Ireland, after having availed of Covid-19 screening centers before leaving Brussels.
The HSE advice states that an unfavorable Covid-19 test outcome does not negate the requirement to quarantine for 14 days after travel from a non-Green List country.
If somebody had Covid-19 symptoms, but received an unfavorable test result, then the advice is that they no longer need to restrict their motions.
Restricting your movements indicates avoiding contact with other people as much as possible; ie, working from home and not having visitors to your home. It’s likewise advised that family or friends drop groceries off, and although workout is enabled, a two-metre range from others should be maintained.
Speaking on an episode of RTÉ’s Prime-time television last week following Hogan’s resignation, Independents 4 Modification MEP Clare Daly said that she was “a bit shocked at the huge difficulty” about Phil Hogan’s assertion that when he had an unfavorable Covid-19 test outcome, he thought he didn’t need to quarantine.
” Because to be completely honest, that’s the impression given here to us to enable us to engage in our operate in the Parliament. I’m not in any way downplaying this concern, however that’s the basis we’re running on in regards to our travel.
… Around April or May, the European Parliament generated a system where MEPs could be checked in order to prevent quarantine.
It indicates MEPs could pertain to work, go house for the weekend, not have to quarantine, return and do the test once again.
Daly stated that she had been in Brussels for the majority of the Covid-19 pandemic, however returned to Ireland throughout the summer: “I came from Italy so I didn’t need to quarantine.”
” I was here all the time but we saw an increase in MEPs returning[after the testing system for MEPs was brought in] The Irish MEPs began to to-and-fro from about May.”
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MEP for Ireland South Seán Kelly told C103 ′ s Cork Today Show stated that “among the problems here is that it differs from nation to nation”.
There is no blanket guideline that says MEPs are exempt … And I believe that’s where the confusion has actually developed. And we need clear assistance.
A representative for the European Parliament said that MEPs go through the guidelines and regulations set out by local and local federal governments.
In Belgium, exemptions exist for a number of classifications such as for vital work or for a compelling reason, consisting of diplomats, journalists for their work, and students who travel abroad daily.
This indicates that when MEPs carry out important activities directly connected to their roles, and not non-essential activities, they are left out from short-term travel limitations and quarantine requirements in Belgium.