Ireland's Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has signed regulations that will introduce a system of mandatory quarantine for arrivals into the Republic of Ireland. 

A legal requirement to quarantine has been introduced to begin February 4 for all travelers (except if a traveler's journey originates in Northern Ireland) with very limited exceptions.

This applies to all arrivals from February 4, 2021:

  • 14-day quarantine period must be undertaken at the address specified on the Passenger Locator Form
  • Persons who travel from another country to Ireland, and arrive via Northern Ireland, must also observe the mandatory quarantine regime

Travelers may only leave their place of residence during the quarantine period for unavoidable reasons of an emergency nature to protect a person’s health or welfare, or to leave the State.

Travelers may leave to take a RT-PCR test no less than 5 days after arrival – if the traveler receives written confirmation that the result of this test is negative/ ‘not detected,' the period of quarantine can end.

Travelers must retain the written confirmation of their test result for at least 14 days.

If a traveler's journey began in South Africa or Brazil, the traveler must complete the full 14 days of quarantine – regardless of whether the traveler had a negative test result.

Penalties for non-compliance are a fine of up to €2,500, 6 months in prison, or both.

There some limited exemptions from the requirement to complete mandatory quarantine:

  • Patients traveling for urgent medical reasons
  • International transport workers in possession of an Annex 3 Certificate; Drivers of Heavy Goods Vehicles; Aviation and maritime crew
  • Gardaí/defence forces, while carrying out their duties
  • Travel to the State pursuant to an arrest warrant, extradition proceedings, or other mandatory legal obligation
  • Diplomats, or travel to perform the function of or provide services to an office holder or elected representative
  • Transit passengers who arrive for the purposes of traveling to another state, and who do not leave the port or airport

The following may temporarily leave their place of quarantine when necessary to perform their essential function – and only for as long as strictly required:

  • A person required to carry out essential repair, maintenance, construction, or safety assurance of critical transport infrastructure, critical utility infrastructure, manufacturing services, information services, or communication services
  • A member of staff of an international organization, or person invited, carrying out functions required for the proper functioning of such organizations and which cannot be carried out remotely
  • A passenger who has been provided with written certification by Sport Ireland related to an internationally important competitive level event
    journalists, carrying out their professional functions

There are no exemptions for arrivals from category 2 states to break quarantine, except for emergency reasons, for example, a person who travels to the State for unavoidable, imperative, and time-sensitive medical reasons.

Countries where there is a high prevalence of variants of concern are category 2 states. Currently, Brazil and South Africa are categorized as such. Travelers from these areas must observe the full period of isolation.

The regulations give effect to the recent Government decision to implement a regime for mandatory quarantine at home, the Irish government said in a statement on February 4.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “The clear Government and public health advice is that everybody should avoid non-essential travel completely.

"Last night, I signed additional regulations that puts mandatory quarantine at home on a statutory footing. All travelers into the country must now adhere to staying at home and enforcement will be a matter for An Garda Síochána.

“Additionally, our public health advice is that people subjected to mandatory quarantine should self-isolate within their homes to assist in protecting those around them.

"Further work on additional legislation to implement mandatory quarantine at a designated facility for those arriving from countries with variants of concern, such as Brazil and South Africa is being progressed and will be implemented as soon as possible.”

Additionally, the Minister for Health, acting on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer, will have the power to designate countries from which travel represents a public health risk due to the presence of variants of concern. These states are category 2 states and additional travel restrictions apply to travelers arriving.

You can find more information here if you are planning to travel to the Republic of Ireland. The Irish government continues to advise against all non-essential travel.