The Irish Refugee Council have raised concerns about people who apply for international protection being required to quarantine beyond the required period.  

While mandatory hotel quarantine ended in September, people who apply for protection are still required to quarantine in allocated hotels in the absence of home quarantine. Due to an apparent lack of capacity in onward accommodation, people have been kept in quarantine longer than the required time.  Figures obtained by Catherine Connolly TD state that, since January 2021, 884 people (out of a total of 2890 people) have stayed in quarantine beyond the 14 days. The average length of stay for those staying beyond 14 days is 21 days.

 Nick Henderson, CEO of the Irish Refugee Council stated:

“It is very concerning that a significant number of people have been required to quarantine beyond the time required by the Travel Regulations. This is apparently due to the lack of onward accommodation to which they can be moved. We are working with vulnerable people, including families, who have been in quarantine beyond the stated period. We urge the Government to ensure people can move out of quarantine upon 5 days if they have a negative test in line with public health guidance and as applies to other arrivals into the State.”

 “We wrote to the Government in February 2021 flagging that people seeking protection are likely to have specific needs, including medical supports and need access to legal advice, while in quarantine. The isolation of spending 14 or more days alone in a hotel room in a new country may compound a person’s trauma.”

 “We understand that it is a not a specific policy to keep people in quarantine, rather a consequence of the lack of capacity in Balseskin reception centre. However, the situation is very concerning and should not continue, particularly in the case of children and vulnerable people.”



  • For comment: Nick Henderson, CEO, 0858585559
  • Parliamentary Question containing the information is available here:
  • The Irish Refugee Council wrote to Minister Stephen Donnelly TD and Minster Helen McEntee TD on Friday 12 February 2021 emphasising the importance of ensuring access to the protection process and issues and concerns around mandatory hotel quarantine. A copy of the letter is available here.