Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (608)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

608. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the steps being taken to ensure that Covid-19 certificates produced on entry to the country are authentic and not fraudulent. [6439/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

From midnight on 15 January 2021, all passengers arriving into Ireland by air or ferry are required to produce evidence of a negative/not detected RT-PCR Covid-19 test, taken up to 72 hours prior to arrival.

Regulations under the Health Act 1947 underpin these new requirements. Under these Regulations, passengers are legally required to produce evidence of a negative/not detected result from an RT-PCR Covid-19 test when boarding a ferry or aircraft and will be denied boarding by the carrier if they cannot produce such evidence unless they fall into the very limited exemption categories.

Checks of evidence of a negative/not detected RT- PCR Covid-19 test on all arriving passengers into the State are carried out by Immigration Officials of the Border Management Unit of my Department and An Garda Síochána at ports of entry to the State. All cases where a test result is not available, or where the authenticity of the test result documentation is queried, are referred for further investigation to An Garda Síochána who have a presence at all approved ports of entry to the State.

Since the introduction of these Regulations on 16 January 2021, and up to and including 7 February 2021, there have been 47,706 arrivals at Dublin Airport, with 170 cases (0.35%) referred to An Garda Síochána for further investigation. Two cases of suspected fraudulent test results were referred to An Garda Síochána for further investigation at Dublin Airport.

Passengers who arrive in an Irish port or airport without evidence of a negative/not detected test result or with a confirmed fraudulent test result will commit an offence and may be subject to prosecution, punishable by a fine not exceeding €2,500 and/or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both. In such cases, An Garda Síochána will prepare a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions.