FACT CHECK: SF denies supporting hotel quarantine after Aer Lingus job losses

Photo Credit: Sinn Féin

Sinn Féin TD Louise O’Reilly has denied that her party supported mandatory hotel quarantine – even though they were the most vocal supporters of the policy.

Speaking on Virgin Media’s Tonight Show this week, the comments were made following the loss of over 100 aviation jobs in Shannon airport.

“The most important part about safely reopening aviation,” said Fine Gael’s Colm Brophy, “is inward travel. We want to, when we can, safely welcome people back into this country. And I know that Louise’s party wanted to at one stage close down the entire country to every country and quarantine everyone arriving.”

“That’s not true, Colm,” O’Reilly shot back, attempting to cut Brophy off mid-sentence.

“No, hold on a second now”, she continued. “I’m not having that. What we’ve called for is a recovery plan for aviation.”

However, O’Reilly’s claim that it is “not true” to say her party endorsed mandatory hotel quarantine is not borne out by the facts. They categorically supported it as recently as March of this year, with Mary Lou McDonald saying point-blank in the clearest of terms:

“We need a system of real mandatory quarantine for all non-essential arrivals from all countries. That is the only approach that will get the job done. It will send a message to international travellers that now is not the time to come here.”

Before that, in January, she called the policy a “no-brainer” and “obviously necessary”.

“Gardaí cannot, of course, police every bedroom or home in the country,” the Sinn Féin leader said in the Dáil.

“We are not asking them to do so, and neither should the Taoiseach. Therefore, not alone is it necessary to have a system of mandatory hotel quarantine, but it is also the efficient and reasonable request to make of the authorities of this State. It is a no-brainer.

“I cannot understand the Taoiseach’s resistance on this issue. The clearest message that can be sent to non-essential travellers to stay away is mandatory quarantine. Why in God’s name is the Taoiseach resisting something which is so obviously necessary?”

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