Irish tourists trapped in Peru fear they may miss DFA chartered flight

Irish tourists trapped in Peru have praised Simon Coveney and Department of Foreign Affairs officials for chartering a flight out of the country.

Irish tourists trapped in Peru fear they may miss DFA chartered flight

Irish tourists trapped in Peru have praised Simon Coveney and Department of Foreign Affairs officials for chartering a flight out of the country.

But some fear they could miss the flight because they aren’t based in Lima, from where the British Airways jet is due to take off.

Apart from the sheer distances involved to get to Lima, a lot of roads are sealed off by army or police.

A bus load of French citizens trying to get to Lima, for example, were stopped and turned back.

The plane is due to leave the country - which is under military lockdown - on Wednesday and has been chartered at a cost of €300,000 for both UK and Irish tourists trapped in the country.

Andrew Cotter, from Mitchelstown, Cork, faces a bus ride of nearly two days to get to Lima.

He, his 30-year-old girlfriend Marie Barry, from Conna, and about 33 other tourists are in the south eastern Peruvian city of Cusco.

It takes 21 hours by road to get from there to the capital.

The 31-year-old said: “We are aware of the progress although we have yet to hear anything official from the embassy.

“It’s a positive move in the right direction but there’s still a lot of stumbling blocks.

“We are 21 hours from Lima. “The government will have to negotiate a chartered bus for us, as there’s no interprovincial transport allowed.

“French citizens were in a similar situation [on Saturday].

“They got on an approved-chartered bus to Lima only to be stopped by police and turned around.”

Catherine Scroope, who is travelling with her boyfriend Ruadhán Elliott, said: “We’re delighted to hear of some hope getting home.

But we feel it’s crucial you highlight the fact that ourselves and about 33 other Irish citizens stuck in Cusco, it is impossible to get to Lima by any means due to the lockdown.

“This is unless the government organizes transport to get there.”

The couple, from Bantry, west Cork, added: “We thank the government for all their hard work and ask them to keep pushing forward to get us home from Cusco.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney told RTÉ News at One he and his officials “have a solution”.

He said: “We now have an agreement to charter a British Airways plane to send it to Lima to pick up 135 Irish citizens in Peru.

“We will need to try and get all those citizens to Lima in the next few days and then picked up by a chartered flight.”

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