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Travel restrictions will not be amended to stop Northern Ireland day-trippers

Leo Varadkar said he has consulted with the Attorney General in relation to the loophole.

Concerns were raised about over the border travel under the new restrictions.
Concerns were raised about over the border travel under the new restrictions.
Image: Eamonn Farrell

LOCKDOWN REGULATIONS DO not need to be amended to prevent day-trippers from Northern Ireland travelling to the Republic, the Taoiseach has said. 

Over the weekend, a loophole in the emergency legislation emerged whereby concerns surfaced that those in Northern Ireland did not have to abide by movement restrictions once they had arrived in the Republic.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Varadkar said he had consulted with the Attorney General in relation to the loophole and it was determined that no changes to the emergency laws are needed.

He said instead, the gardaí and the PSNI need to co-operate to enforce laws on both side of the border. 

Varadkar said anyone day-tripping from Northern Ireland into the Republic is in breach of local law in Northern Ireland, and vice versa.

“Unless we prohibit people crossing the border, which we are just not going to do, what is required is co-operation.  Somebody going beyond the 2km restriction without a very good reason, such as being a cross-border worker, is breaching the law in one jurisdiction.  

“What is really required is co-operation between the police authorities. We will not to make it illegal for people from Northern Ireland to come into the Republic of Ireland for reasons with which the deputy will agree. Enforcement is going to be the issue which will require co-operation between the PSNI and An Garda Síochána. I am reassured by what the Garda Commissioner said about this in recent days,” he said, replying to a question by Independent TD Thomas Pringle on the matter.

Commissioner Drew Harris said during the week, stating: “Those who are engaged in non-essential travel, who in effect of this expression day-tripping, into this jurisdiction – they may have breached the law as it is in Northern Ireland.”

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