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Ireland is likely to follow in the UK's footsteps by not requiring the green cert for activities and services within the country.
Ireland is likely to follow in the UK's footsteps by not requiring the green cert for activities and services within the country.
Image: Photocall Ireland

Taoiseach highlights difficulties in domestic use of the ‘green cert’ or vaccine bonus to access services

Fianna Fail TDs and senators called for the reopening of outdoor dining at their meeting tonight.
Apr 27th 2021, 9:16 PM 34,412 37

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has tonight highlighted difficulties in the domestic use of so-called ‘green cert’ or vaccine bonus to access any services, such as pubs and restaurants. 

Citing civil liberties issues, he told his parliamentary party meeting that it is likely it will only be used for overseas travel. 

Speaking at the Fianna Fáil meeting, he said a policy group in his department is examining the issue, as well as in an EU context. 

Such an approach would follow in the footsteps of the UK which does not require such a cert for outdoor dining or non essential retail.

Earlier this month, Denmark began requiring people to use a new Covid-19 certificate to enter certain businesses or face fines, becoming one of the first European countries to do so.

The European Parliament is set to vote tomorrow on the proposal for Digital Green Certificates– also known as Covid passports. 

The aim of Digital Green Certificates is to allow the return of free movement of people around Europe this summer – by proving that a person has either been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, has a negative test result, or has recovered from Covid-19. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar had suggested that there could be greater freedoms afforded to those who are fully vaccinated, and that separate to travel, a version of this could be rolled out to allow for distanced gatherings indoors at pubs, restaurants, or other venues.

It is understood that vaccine passports or ‘green certs’ were under consideration at government level when it came to reopening hospitality.

However, sources were quick to point out last month that it could be the case of there being multiple options available – such as someone having a vaccination cert, or someone having to present a negative antigen test – for people that are not vaccinated.

Pádraig Cribben of the Vintners Federation of Ireland previously told The Journal that when this issue of Covid passports was discussed with the Government “some time ago”, the impression they got was that “it would be a major investment for a very short input and it wasn’t worth being pursued”.

Fianna Fáil politicians tonight told the Taoiseach that the ban on inter-country travel should be lifted and that the early return for indoor and outdoor dining should be considered.

The party backed a motion that called for outdoor space availability to determine numbers allowed, and not some arbitrary capped number, as well as a roadmap for larger hotel events like weddings to be established. 

Micheál Martin said domestic tourism will likely return in June, telling members that he had heard their the calls for the equal treatment between gastro and traditional pubs – signalling that there will be no disparity between pubs that serve food and those that do not. 

A number of TDs and senators said tonight, that once again, the public is ahead of government, and already not adhering to the restrictions. 

The meeting heard from speakers who said that the government needed to “give a little and trust people”, stating that businesses will do things right for the most part. 

The meeting was told that not only was inter county travel important for domestic tourism, but also on a human level to allow people to visit their family.

Members said the hospitality sector can provide safe spaces to socialise and they can also take details for contact tracing.

The Taoiseach was told that outdoors seems to be safe and was asked what’s the evidence to support staying closed. 

Dublin Bay South TD Jim O’Callaghan is understood to have raised the issue of large crowds at weekend in Portobello and along the canal, where there are no toilets.

Senator Lisa Chambers is understood to have told the Taoiseach that given that people are already meeting up in large numbers and socialising, eating and drinking together, it makes sense to allow controlled spaces to reopen.

It is understood that some TDs believe that once outdoor dining reopens in the North, it will present a problem, with some people traveling to beer gardens over the border, despite the travel restrictions. 

Restaurants and pubs have called for outdoor dining to be permitted on 24 May, which would coincide with the reopening of indoor dining in Northern Ireland.

Martin is believed to have responded to his party members by stating the strategy so far is working, with the numbers across the board falling. 

He said that motions on particular sectors at a parlimentary party meeting is not the best way to deal with such matters.

The government will this week give a detailed statement on what areas of society can open in May and June.

On Thursday, Martin said religious services, sport and outdoor training for over 18s will be considered, stating that the government is very conscious about the wellbeing of young people.

“We are also looking at reopening museums, galleries and libraries also personal services such as hairdressers and barbers,” he said, stating that click and collect and non essential retail will also be considered.

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He indicated that June will see hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, self catering and mobile homes allowed to reopen.

He repeated what he said at an Oireachtas Committee today that there will be no cliff edge on supports.

“We want to reboot and support sectors with the national recovery plan.We are in a good position and better than anticipated and modelled at the end of March,” he said.

Speaking about the vaccine rollout, he said:

“I’ve registered myself and looking forward to it. We will start the under 60s for registration as we get though the over 60 cohort.”

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Christina Finn

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