Simon Coveney says he believes mandatory hotel quarantine is the "right thing to do" 3 weeks ago

Simon Coveney says he believes mandatory hotel quarantine is the "right thing to do"

It comes after the Minister's brother likened mandatory hotel quarantine to a "prison".

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has said he believes mandatory hotel quarantine is the "right thing to do" to try to keep concerning variants of Covid-19 out of Ireland.

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It comes after the Minister was reported as being against a recent move to add more countries to the mandatory hotel quarantine list, as well comments from his brother, businessman Patrick Coveney, which criticised the system.

Speaking on Today with Claire Byrne on Thursday, Minister Coveney clarified his stance on mandatory quarantine, saying: "My obligation in Government and my legal obligation under the legislation linked to mandatory hotel quarantine is that I'm part of the consultation process with [Health Minister] Stephen Donnelly to make sure that we try to get this right.

"I have, I think, done what I'm supposed to do, which is to ask the hard questions, to pose different scenarios.

"Mandatory hotel quarantine is not easy to implement. That's why no other country in the European Union is doing it. We are and have taken a very cautious approach to international travel.

"I believe that mandatory hotel quarantine is the right thing to do, but I think we've also got to try to ensure that the Government is open to adapting and changing the system to respond to the challenges that are there."

The Minister said the Government is facing legal challenges "every day" from people who are in the mandatory hotel quarantine system and that it is important to make sure the system is "legally sound".

On Tuesday, the Minister's brother Patrick Coveney - CEO of the Greencore Group - re-tweeted an Irish Times article regarding bookings being paused on the State’s mandatory hotel quarantine system.

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He wrote: "Hard to overstate the incompetence & lack of foresight here. Ireland is now officially shut off from US & most of EU with little hope of being able to safely source the massive levels of hotel ‘prison capacity’ to sustain #MHQ policy."

Asked about this on the radio show, Minister Coveney said his brother did not consult with him before he made the Twitter post, but that they spoke after.

He explained; "I've got five brothers and a sister and they're all independent-thinking, vocal people, let me tell you.

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"I'm not going to go into my conversations with my brother. Anybody in a democracy has a right to outline a view.

"I'm close to all of my brothers, I'm glad to say, and my sister, but they all have their own independent views and frustrations and sometimes they vocalise them.

"I'm certainly not going to be my brother's keeper on this one."

He added that he didn't agree with his brother's views, stating: "I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I did."

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