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Relief for Australians in Ireland as Australia finally set to ease 'incredibly strict' travel restrictions

It’s a "bittersweet" day for Australians in Ireland, after the Australian government finally co...
Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.26 27 Oct 2021


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Relief for Australians in Irel...

Relief for Australians in Ireland as Australia finally set to ease 'incredibly strict' travel restrictions

Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

14.26 27 Oct 2021


Share this article


It’s a "bittersweet" day for Australians in Ireland, after the Australian government finally confirmed an easing of its strict COVID-19 travel ban.

Australia has had some of the strictest border controls in the world during the pandemic.

For more than a year, citizens needed a special exemption to even leave the country.

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There were limits on the number of people who could enter the country during any given week, meaning many Australian citizens living abroad have been unable to return home since last March.

There was also a strict mandatory hotel quarantine system in place for those arriving in the country.

However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed 7News that fully vaccinated Australians will now be able to travel overseas, with mandatory quarantine lifted.

It was previously confirmed that vaccinated Australian citizens and their relatives will be able to travel to Australia, as long as they are fully vaccinated.

Foreign tourists won't be able to enter Australia just yet, but Mr Morrison says it should happen by the end of the year.

It comes amid rising vaccination rates in Australia, with nearly three-quarters of over-16s now fully vaccinated.

“It was horrific for lots of people"

Brianna Parkins, reporter with Ireland AM, told Lunchtime Live the lifting of the travel ban is good news for herself and other Australians living here.

She said: “It has been a long two years.

“Citizens could return back to Australia, but we had the issue of hotel quarantine, which would have cost you… around €2,000 for a two-week hotel stay.

“The army would pick you up, take you to a hotel, and you couldn’t leave your room… it was incredibly, incredibly strict.”

The costs of flights to Australia also rose significantly as seats were so scarce.

As a result, Brianna said the reopening of borders is a bittersweet occasion for her and others.

Brianna said: “My grandfather got very sick and unfortunately died. I could not get a flight home to see him - there were no available. The only one I could get was €17,000, and that was before I factored in the quarantine costs. And there was no guarantee I could get out of the country.

“It was horrific for lots of people. I’m aware of several Australians in Ireland who unfortunately had to watch a parent die over an iPad, because they were unsure whether they’d be able to bring their children back in. There were all kinds of issues going on.

“There is a sense we were abandoned and forgotten about by the Australian government.”

However, she does look at the positive side as well - noting her relatives and others in Australia got to enjoy major freedoms while people in Ireland spent months in lockdown.

For Brianna, she’s now hoping to get back to Australia for a few weeks over Christmas - her first trip back in two years.

She also said there will be “lots of family reunions” over the coming weeks - including Irish grandparents who will finally get to meet their Australian grandchildren for the first time.

Main image: Sydney Airport. Picture by: Robert Wallace / Wallace Media Network / Alamy Stock Photo

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