US officials have apologized to the Irish government after more than 50 military personnel broke Irish Covid-19 rules by spending a night at a Limerick hotel without supplying negative tests or filling in contact-tracing forms
Negative coronavirus tests and fully completed passenger locator forms are mandated under strict Irish government rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Failing to fill out the locator form carries a six-month prison term and a fine of €2,500 ($3,000). Failing to provide a valid Covid-19 test also carries a €2,500 fine.
The incident happened on January 25 but only came to light on Monday following inquiries by an Irish parliamentarian. A US Navy C40 transport jet carrying five crew and 48 military personnel home from Bahrain landed at Shannon Airport on January 25. The contingent stayed overnight in a Limerick hotel before leaving the next morning.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said that the US servicemen did not provide negative tests and failed to complete passenger locator forms, adding that Irish police visited the hotel to inform them they had broken the law. He confirmed the troops had also left the hotel to buy food.
“My department and our embassy in Washington have received apologies, both orally and in writing, from the relevant US authorities, including the US military authorities,” Coveney said, adding the breaches happened “due to an error on the US side.”
Cian O’Callaghan, the Irish lawmaker who raised the issue, said Irish people are making huge sacrifices to abide by Covid-19 rules and “anyone coming here must abide by public health measures, and that extends to the US military.”
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