Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is trying to close a legal loophole that allows people to abuse level 5 travel restrictions.Other than the need for pre-flight Covid-19 tests, anybody leaving the country has to have a reasonable excuse, and that includes attending a medical appointment.However at present, the person does not need to prove to authorities that they attended the appointment upon their return.
A spokesperson for Mr Donnelly said: The minister has asked officials to examine this issue. 
The Irish Examiner understands senior gardaí informed the Department of Health about the “lacuna”, or legal loophole, in temporary restrictions legislation at the start of February.
They were concerned the reasonable excuse proviso was being abused and could continue to be.
At the time gardaí and health chiefs discussed the issue, up to 50 people from Dublin in their 20s and 30s had travelled to the Canary Islands for appointments at a dental practice.
Staff at the Clinica Dental Tenerife Sur clinic later said most of them did not show up, leading to a suspicion that the dental appointment bookings were just a ruse to get out of the country.
Roberta Beccaris, office manager at Clinica Dental Tenerife Sur.
A number of the appointments, most of which were for the week beginning February 8, were for non-urgent services including teeth cleaning and teeth whitening.
Under level 5, one of the few essential reasons for travelling from Ireland  is to seek essential medical, health or dental services, or accompanying someone who needs essential treatment. 
Those caught travelling without a valid reason are liable to fines of up to 2,000.
It is understood attempts by the Department of Health to close the loophole have hit various legal and other issues including a potential conflict with the EU Cross Border Directive and the associated rights to travel afforded to those being treated under it.
Lawyers for the State are also concerned about how fair a stricter legislative regime for leaving Ireland would be.
Roberta Beccaris, Clinica Dental Tenerife Sur office manager, who previously spoke to the Irish Examiner about the February no-shows, has confirmed gardaí have not been in touch for details on those people since.
We have appointments from older Irish people who are living here, or who are staying here for a few months,” she said. But we dont have any from the young Irish customers we were having before.

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