Gardaí suspicious after sudden surge in number of people flying out to Tenerife for  ‘essential dentist appointments'

Gardaí suspicious after sudden surge in number of people flying out to Tenerife for ‘essential dentist appointments'

THERE have been some raised eyebrows among gardaí in Dublin Airport this week where a disproportionate number travellers are claiming to have dentist appointments in sunny destinations.

Around 900 people departed from Dublin Airport today, and approximately 1,000 came through arrivals, according to RTÉ.

While many of those were travelling for essential purposes, a sizable number of travellers with foreign medical appointments have come under scrutiny by the authorities.

One man claimed – and produced an email as proof – that he had a dentist appointment in Tenerife on Friday morning. He was accompanied by a woman, as a companion is allowed in cases of medical necessity, and was allowed to proceed with his journey.

The number of people presenting gardaí with proof of medical or dental appointments in places like Tenerife and Istanbul has however aroused some suspicion among law enforcement officials. 

The National Immigration Bureau note that among between 30% and 40% of travellers – incidentally to sunny destinations – had dental appointments awaiting them, RTÉ reports.

It highlights a potential loophole for those looking to dodge restrictions, as well as the challenges gardaí are grappling with in enforcing Covid-19 travel guidelines. 

Speaking earlier this week about the difficulty of enforcing the “extremely strict” travel restrictions, Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien said:

"We're within the European Union itself, and obviously, we look at what our European colleagues have done. And indeed with Britain, and they're grappled with this issue too.

"It's not just as easy that you click your fingers and borders close, and quarantine comes in place.

"But in the short term, and medium term, of course, we're going to continue to protect our country, protect our borders and take whatever measures are required to do that," he added.

"We want to get back to a situation whereby life returns back to normal as soon as we can, later this year or early next year."