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Vardakar: 'We're asking people to put off their trip, but if they have to come home please follow the rules'

The government says it is up to individual families to decide if someone coming home is essential.

People at Dublin Airport at Christmas last year.
People at Dublin Airport at Christmas last year.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said the government is asking people not to travel home for Christmas but that if feel they have to come home they should “follow the rules”. 

Speaking at a briefing this evening, Varadkar said “there is no ban on international travel or people coming home” but that the government is asking people not to make a journey home if they don’t think it is essential. 

Both he and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said it is for people and families themselves to determine if they feel people travelling home is essential. 

“It is a judgement call and it is the individual that is best placed to judge that, I think everyone’s family circumstances are different, I don’t think we can define that,” Ryan said this evening. 

“It does have to be a case-by-case basis, every individual looking at their assessment of what theist family needs. If you’re back coming back be careful,” he added.

Speaking a number of weeks ago, Varadkar had said that it was “too early” for people to book a flight home this Christmas. 

Asked about his comments this evening, the Tánaiste said that incoming travel to Ireland presents the risk of importing cases of Covid-19.  

“We’ve signed up to the EU traffic light system, if you look at that map, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Norway are orange and pretty much everywhere else in Europe, including the kind of places where Irish people tend to live like Britain, France and Germany, are all red. So obviously coming from a red zone to an orange zone like Ireland it is a risk,” he said.

For that reason we’re asking people to avoid non-essential travel, put off their trip. But if they feel they have to come home for personal reasons or for family reasons, then please follow the rules.

The rules the Tánaiste is referring to is the request for international arrivals from outside of ‘green’ countries to restrict their movements when they come to Ireland

At present, people arriving into Ireland from orange, red or grey countries are asked to restrict their movements for 14 days. 

This is set to change from Sunday when people will be able to end their movement restriction if they receive a ‘negative/not detected’ PCR test taken at least five days after arriving.

This also applies to countries outside the EU traffic light system. All passengers arriving to Ireland from overseas are still required to complete a Covid-19 Passenger Locator Form.

Speaking about the number of people who may be planning to return to Ireland this Christmas, Ryan said it is “a fraction” of the number of people who would usually travel.  

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“What we’re seeing is that Irish people are collectively, by and large, making the decision not to travel. The volumes are minimal, a fraction of what they were previously. Everything we’re seeing is that this is going to continue through this period,” he added.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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