Tuesday, June 15, 2021

A Canadian medical doctor who initiated a High Court challenge over having to undergo mandatory hotel quarantine following his arrival into Ireland last weekend has been released.

Lawyers representing Dr Milan Minic, a Canadian national who has been working in Irish hospitals including the Blackrock Clinic for the last four years, had sought an inquiry under Article 40 of the Irish Constitution into the legality of his detention.

Represented by Michael O’Higgins SC, with Mark Lynam Bl, Dr Minic had argued that he is exempt from having to undergo the mandatory hotel quarantine, as part of the state’s bid to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.

This, the court heard, was because he had returned to Ireland to undergo surgery.

On Tuesday his counsel told Mr Justice Brian O’Moore the application, which was on notice to the State had effectively become moot after his client was released, and allowed leave the hotel where he had been quarantining.

Sick mother

Counsel said Dr Minic had returned to his home country in May this to help look after his sick mother, and had intended to stay in Canada till July.

Counsel said that Dr Minic was advised to return to Ireland after a medical condition, that effects his tonsils, started to flare up and cause him severe difficulties.

He had been receiving treatment for his condition under the supervision of a Dublin-based consultant surgeon.

Counsel said that arising out of the recent flare up, Dr Minic requires to undergo surgery to remove his tonsils, performed by his consultant, in Ireland.

He flew back to Ireland from Toronto, via London and arrived here on Friday, June 11th last. He also underwent a PCR test prior to his arrival which was negative, the court also heard.

Designated country

As Canada is currently a designated country, he was told on arrival into Dublin that he would have to quarantine at a hotel for a period of up to 14 days.

He explained to officials at the airport that he is exempt as he needs to undergo surgery as soon as possible. However, he was told he had to quarantine at a hotel.

He appealed against that decision, but his appeal was unsuccessful.

He claimed that the officials and the appeals officer failed to take account of Dr Minic’s urgent medical situation, and launched the inquiry into his detention.

He had argued that his detention was unlawful in circumstances where he was an exempted person under the Health Act.

The inquiry was also brought on the ground that the under the 1947 Act requiring persons from designated countries to undergo mandatory quarantine is unconstitutional.

The action was against the operators of the hotel he had been quarantined at, and the Minister for Health.

On Tuesday Mr O’Higgins said that the matter had been resolved and the only outstanding issue remaining was costs.

The Judge adjourned the matter to allow the State to consider that application. The matter will return before the courts later this month.

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