'RULES ARE RULES' Sarah Tierney.
A GARRYMORE woman who has been living in Australia for three years has hit out at a ruling from an Australian court allowing tennis player Novak Djokovic to remain in the country.
Sarah Tierney said the ruling was ‘unfair’ on Irish people living in Australia who have been unable to return home due to the country’s strict border controls.
Ms Tierney, a former captain of the Mayo ladies’ football team, has not returned home since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Currently, all international travellers coming into the country must produce an international Covid-19 vaccination certificate. Djokovic had been detained at a quarantine hotel after his medical exemption to the Covid-19 vaccine had been rejected.
However, a court ruled yesterday (Monday) that Djokovic had a valid exemption, as he had previously been infected with Covid-19.
Ms Tierney said that the Serbian should not have been allowed into Australia to compete in the Australian open.
Speaking exclusively to The Mayo News, the former county footballer said: “A friend of mine whose mother passed away cannot get home because of restrictions. A lot of people over here have had to deal with similar situations in the past year and a half, not being able to get home for loved ones’ funerals.
“The English and the Irish here are very frustrated because since March 2020 we haven’t been able to leave the country to come back in. If we were to do it, we’d have to apply for an exemption, which are really hard to get. So we’re technically locked into the country,” she added.
“We’re paying taxes and everything, so it is a little bit unfair to see all these celebrities coming and going. Rules are rules, and he definitely knew the rules before he came in.
“There’s actually a young Irish girl who was diagnosed with cancer within the last six months. She’s going through chemotherapy here and her boyfriend tried really hard to get the parents over and it caused so much stress and hassle,” she continued, pointing out that while he was running a big petition, all the while ‘these celebrities were coming in for Love Island’.
The girl’s parents did end up getting an exemption, Tierney explained, but only after a big battle. “It’s definitely not what that young girl needed when she was facing cancer.”
Tierney, who works an accountant for a visual effects company, described the Covid situation in Sydney as ‘quite serious’, saying that travel restrictions could become even more restrictive.
The state of New South Wales has responded to record Covid case numbers by introducing tighter rules for large events and indoor venues.
“It’s a lot of hassle to go home at the moment because you have to get PCR tests and there’s no guarantee that you will get back into the country once you leave. A lot of Irish here are on Covid visas, which don’t allow you to leave the country. It’s really hard for a lot of Irish here at the moment,” Tierney said.
“If anything ever happened at home, it’s just a worry that you’re uprooting your life here to go home to Ireland, so that’s been kind of hard. Not knowing when it’s all going to end is really tough.”