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Tánaiste Leo Varadkar waves while arriving for a session of the Dáil in the Convention Centre, Dublin, last month. Sam Boal/
green list

Varadkar says it's wrong to send out 'mixed messages' over foreign travel

The Cabinet is due to sign off on the ‘green list’ of countries this evening.

TÁNAISTE LEO VARADKAR has said it’s “wrong” to send out mixed messages about international travel ahead of the publication of the ‘green list’ of countries where people can travel without having to self-quarantine upon their return to Ireland.

The Cabinet is due to sign off on the list of countries, to which people can travel without having to restrict their movements for 14 days when they return to Ireland, at a meeting this evening.

However, the official advice is for people to avoid all non-essential travel as many countries still grapple with Covid-19 – leading to some confusion.

The Tánaiste’s spokesperson today said Varadkar “believes strongly that it’s wrong to send out mixed messages about international travel”.

“The Tánaiste believes there should be a green list as was previously agreed by government. But if the travel advice for countries on the green list isn’t different to advice for other countries, then we would be better off not having a green list at all.”

The spokesperson was responding to a query from RTÉ.

‘Cautious approach’ 

Speaking during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil this afternoon, Taoiseach Micheál Martin noted that the green list was originally meant to be published weeks ago but was postponed as the government is taking a “cautious approach” to the situation.

“The government will be meeting to decide on this issue. We actually postponed this idea of the green list, in terms of countries that were at the same level of, or had a lesser level of the incidence of the virus than than we had.

“That was to come in some weeks ago, we postponed it again in a cautious approach, and we will take a cautious approach in relation to it.”

Following the delays, there have been reports of tensions among coalition partners over the publication of the list.

However, a number of ministers have told there are “no differences” between parties on the publication of the list, which is set to be “very short”.

There are understood to be “slight differences” in the emphasis that some ministers place on people only travelling for essential reasons versus those not wanting to undermine the notion of Ireland as an open economy.

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