Ireland has some of the toughest travel restrictions in Europe, among them a €2,000 fine for non-essential travel and a mandatory hotel quarantine system paid for by the arriving passenger.

The restrictions are proving particularly difficult for those who live in Ireland but were born abroad and have family abroad. That is one in eight people living in Ireland.

Arrivals from 56 countries, including four EU countries, are required to enter mandatory hotel quarantine, at a cost of nearly €2,000.

RTÉ News has been contacted by many people who feel "ignored" and "held hostage" by the restrictions.

Nobantu Mbambo moved from Zimbabwe to Ireland last September. She's working as a nurse and living alone in Portlaoise.

She asks: "Why was I recruited and allowed into the country during the Covid-era when my family is denied joining me?"

Her husband and two young sons were due to join her in Ireland, but visa processing has been suspended as a public health measure.

Ms Mbambo said the separation is putting considerable strain on their family relationships.

She has questioned whether the Government only needs "her services" and "does not care about her social and psychological wellbeing".

Isida Tabaku has lived in Ireland for 20 years with her husband.

During the Summer they usually go to Albania with their three daughters to see family, a visit they consider "crucial" for culture and family ties.

"The current travel restrictions mean that we cannot meet our families for the second year in a row," said Ms Tabaku.

She said: "We are tired of seeing their faces through a 10cm by 5cm phone screen in a WhatsApp call.

"We are tired of trying to guess if our elderly parents are well. They tend to not share concerning news with emigrants so as to protect us from worrying."

Herve Rouxel, who lives in Sligo with his family, says the system is preventing him from visiting his 83-year-old mother.

"She lives on her own since my dad passed away last year," he said.

"I cannot leave her in that situation for much longer. She is old. She needs to see me as much as I want to be by her side."

French national Laurence Estival, who lives just outside Killarney, Co Kerry, says France was put on the "red list" while she was at her mother's funeral.

"I had to shorten my stay (in France) to avoid mandatory hotel quarantine. I didn't feel brave enough to face this ordeal alone after the death of my mother," she said.

Leaving her bereaved father in France she promised to bring him to Kerry as soon as possible.

"But I don't know when I will be able to keep this promise," said Ms Estival.

Sarah, who lives in Meath, watched her father's funeral online on Monday.

She was unable to visit him before he died because she has a five-month-old baby, whom she was unable to get a passport.

Mandatory Hotel Quarantine without her daughter was not an option.

"What I will remember about this measure is that it forced me to choose between my father and my daughter," she said.