Gaeltacht minister floats 'phased reopening' for the Aran Islands

The Aran Islands, off the coast of Galway, could reopen to the public on a phased basis, rather than on Monday June 29, as permitted under the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.
Gaeltacht minister floats 'phased reopening' for the Aran Islands

Additional reporting: Lorna Siggins

The Aran Islands, off the coast of Galway, could reopen to the public on a phased basis, rather than on Monday June 29, as permitted under the latest easing of lockdown restrictions.

From that date, travel is permitted anywhere in the country, including offshore islands, but concerns have emerged from local communities that a large number of visitors could lead to Covid-19 outbreaks on the country's islands.

Minister of State for the Gaeltacht and the Islands, Sean Kyne says the Aran islands may open at a slower pace than elsewhere:

"I myself have sent it up the line for discussion, that there'd be a phased reopening, if you like, that prioritises those with island connections, or have residence on the island, holiday homes or whatever, that they get preference initially, and that there'd then be a full reopening on July 20."

The Aran Islands entered lockdown and restricted travel to and from the mainland to emergencies and essential travel, with tourism banned during the course of the measures.

Island Ferries allowed one vessel to serve all three islands daily for “essential/emergency services only" under a revised timetable.

“Emergency/essential workers and those providing essential services such as doctors, Gardaí and others require transport to and from the islands,” Island Ferries said in a statement in March.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up