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Taoiseach Micheál Martin speaking in Washington last week. PA
negative tests

Taoiseach leaving Covid isolation in US and will head to EU summit in Brussels tomorrow

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has spent the last week in Washington due to testing positive for Covid-19.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN is set to travel to Brussels tomorrow for an EU Council meeting on the war in Ukraine after he was stuck in Washington DC due to Covid-19.

Martin is set to return to Ireland from Washington this evening, following several days in isolation in the US after he tested positive for the virus ahead of his meeting with US President Joe Biden.

A spokesperson for the Taoiseach said that Martin would be attending the summit in Brussels after he received two successive negative tests before leaving Washington.

“The Taoiseach will attend an important meeting of the European Council in Brussels tomorrow which will discuss Russian military aggression against Ukraine, security and defence, energy, economic issues, COVID-19 and external relations,” the spokesperson said.

“He has now received two successive negative COVID tests ahead of his departure from the US, and he will fly home from Washington DC this evening.”

The Journal understands that Martin is feeling well and is symptom-free and that he will wear a mask while in Brussels, as per public health advice.

It’s understood that there were consultations with Aer Lingus, Irish public health advisors, Brussels and the EU, which all advise that people wait seven days following a positive test before travelling.

The Taoiseach first tested positive for the virus on Wednesday 16 March.

EU Council 

The two-day EU Council summit is set to be attended by US President Joe Biden, with leaders of the 27 EU countries considering establishing a “trust fund” for Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

Documents seen by the AFP news agency detail plans to help Ukraine rebuild following the war but there is currently no indication of how big this fund could be.

“Bearing in mind the destruction and enormous losses brought upon Ukraine by Russia’s military aggression, the European Union is committed to provide support to the Ukrainian Government for its immediate needs and, once the Russian onslaught has ceased, for the reconstruction of a democratic Ukraine,” the draft conclusions for the meeting said.

“To that end, the European Council agrees to set up a Ukraine Solidarity Trust Fund and calls for preparations to start without delay.”

The trust fund was first suggested by EU Council President Charles Michel in a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy last Friday.

Michel said it would “help provide basic services and meet citizens’ immediate needs” and would “give liquidity for continued support to authorities and in the longer term serve as backbone for reconstruction”.

The EU has already agreed €1.2 billion in emergency funding to help the Ukrainian authorities.

Additional reporting by AFP

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