Coronavirus: Grant Shapps dismisses ‘Dublin dodge’ to avoid quarantine

Transport secretary claims visit to Ireland will not circumvent 14-day self-isolation rule

Grant Shapps on travellers from Ireland

A day after Priti Patel announced the UK’s first blanket quarantine from 8 June, the transport secretary denied that travellers can avoid two weeks of self-isolation by travelling via Ireland.

At Saturday's No 10 daily briefing, a questioner named Gordon from Gosport asked Grant Shapps: “How is the government going to prevent travellers staying in the Irish republic after their holidays to bypass the UK’s 14-day quarantine?”

The Home Office regulations exempt arrivals from the Common Travel Area – comprising Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

The Independent has identified several ways in which travellers could avoid quarantine by travelling via Dublin. None involves staying overnight, which would breach Ireland’s strict lockdown rules.

But Mr Shapps dismissed the so-called “Dublin dodge”, saying: “The point that people may not be aware of is that Ireland has a travel ban effectively as well, so they also have a quarantine in place.

“So it is the case that that may change in the future. Of course we’ll keep our system under review in the future.

“But for the time being whether somebody travels to Dublin or somebody travels to London, the same essential quarantine system would apply.”

The current Foreign Office travel advice for Ireland initially concurs, saying: “All arrivals from overseas, including Irish residents, are asked to self-isolate for 14 days.”

But in contradiction it adds: “This does not apply if you are returning to Ireland from Northern Ireland [or] transiting via an Irish airport on your way to another country.”

Those exemptions present straightforward options for UK-bound travellers to avoid both Irish and British quarantine obligations.

Anyone seeking to exploit the loopholes would increase risk to themselves and others.

With the additional transportation involved, the number of interactions with frontline staff and passengers on essential journeys would rise sharply.

The government believes that travellers availing of the loopholes will be breaching the spirit of the quarantine rules.

The Department for Transport and the Home Office have declined to comment on Mr Shapps's assertions.

Earlier, a spokesperson for the Home Office confirmed: “Anyone travelling from Ireland will be exempt.

“However, given the high levels of compliance we have seen to date, we expect that the majority of people will do the right thing and abide by these measures.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in