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Government expects to 'stick with the plan' of opening up foreign travel on 19 July

Ireland is to sign up to the EU Green Cert a number of weeks after it is available.

Image: Shutterstock/Tymonko Galyna

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said the government expects to “stick with the plan” to roll out the EU’s Digital Green Cert from 19 July and open up foreign travel. 

At present, travel is only permitted for essential reasons but that is due to change next month with Ireland also adopting the EU Digital Covid Certificate (Green Cert).

Ireland is scheduled to begin using the system from 19 July, a number of weeks after it becomes available to EU member states on 1 July. 

The Green Cert system will allow EU citizens to travel to other member states if they can prove one or more of three things: they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, they have received a recent negative test result or they have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months. 

Ireland is set to adopt each element of this approach with Ryan saying today that it is best to follow a “European approach”. 

This is despite Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan recently stating a preference for people waiting until they are fully vaccinated to travel

“We’re part of a European Union, and we’ve agreed that we’re best following this in a European Union approach,” he said. 

Speaking yesterday, Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson said that the government should allow vaccinated people travel freely ahead of 19 July, telling RTÉ’s Drivetime that “there is no medical reason to stop them from travelling”. 

Ryan said today that the government was not going to take this approach and will introduce the three Green Cert measures together. 

“The plan is working, so I don’t think we should change it for an immediate solution that we’d have to change again on the 19 July so we’re gonna stick with it, stick with the plan,” he said. 

NPHET

NPHET is due to give advice to the government next Wednesday on its view on the next period of Ireland’s reopening with the government set to consider that the following day. 

Much of the advice is expected to focus on the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19, which Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said was a “big concern”

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Asked today whether the government would go against NPHET if it advised that only vaccinated people should travel, Ryan said the government will consider the advice but also consider other factors. 

We’ll obviously listen to NPHET, we’ll listen to ECDC as well. But there is strength in following a common approach, travel involves another jurisdiction on every occasion when you’re leaving the country and doing it in a uniform, common approach makes real sense. It makes it predictable, it’s standardised.

Ryan added that NPHET’s advice next week will likely focus more on plans for the easing of restrictions on 5 July, which is scheduled to include to return of indoor hospitality.

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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