American officials have apologized to Irish leaders after U.S. military personnel ignored COVID-19 regulations when they landed at Shannon Airport late last month, the Irish Examiner reported Monday.
The 48 service members, along with the five crew members of the U.S. Navy C40A aircraft, skipped presenting required negative tests for COVID-19 when they landed. They then broke isolation during the night, leaving their Limerick hotel to buy food, the Examiner reported.
The “breach of regulations” was “raised with the U.S. authorities,” Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told members of Parliament, according to the newspaper. He called the noncompliance a “serious matter” and “made this clear in a discussion with the chargé d’affaires of the U.S. embassy in Dublin,” he added.
“We have emphasized to the US authorities that all landings must fully abide by the conditions put in place by the Irish authorities, including public health conditions,” Coveney said.
U.S. military officials had insisted the service members, who had flown in from Bahrain, had been traveling in a “bubble” and were wearing masks when they went out shopping for food.
But U.S. authorities have “recommitted to full compliance,” said Coveney.
In addition, he added, “My department and our embassy in Washington have received apologies, both orally and in writing, from the relevant U.S. authorities, including the U.S. military authorities.”
Member of Parliament Cian O’Callaghan of the Social Democrats complained that the Irish government too often fails to respond to Americans’ disregard for the rules.
“It is unacceptable that there isn’t proper adherence to public health measures by anyone. It’s an unnecessary risk, and U.S. troops have to be subject to the same approach as anyone else,” he said.
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