Govt accused of 'fudging around' as debate rages over lifting travel restrictions

Ryanair's CEO has criticised the government for "fudging around" with plans for air bridges between Ireland and other countries.
Govt accused of 'fudging around' as debate rages over lifting travel restrictions
Planes at Cork Airport. Picture: Dan Linehan
Planes at Cork Airport. Picture: Dan Linehan

Ryanair's CEO has criticised the government for "fudging around" with plans for air bridges between Ireland and other countries.

It is likely travel restrictions will only be eased for people arriving here from countries that have got the coronavirus outbreak under control.

A state-appointed taskforce has called for the two-week quarantine rule to be dropped completely.

Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson says Ireland needs to be in line with other EU countries.

"The rest of Europe is moving and Ireland is fudging around, talking about form-filling. Now it's air bridges," he said.

"They won't work within the European Union because you've got the free movement of people.

People are now sensible about what they need to do with face masks, particularly in areas where social distancing is challenging.

Meanwhile, a leading immunologist claims Ireland will 're-import' a wave of Covid-19 cases if restrictions on air travel are lifted.

The state's Aviation Recovery Taskforce says the 14-day quarantine rule and border restrictions should be removed from July 1.

Kingston Mills, professor of experimental immunology in Trinity College, strongly disagrees with the taskforce.

"Lifting all the restrictions on travel I don't think is the thing we need right now," he said.

I think we have to retain restrictions on travel and not re-import the infection again like we did in the very beginning when we brought it in from Italy and other places.

"If you allow travel unrestricted from countries that still have significant levels of Covid-19, you're going to get exactly the same problem that we started with in February of importing this disease from another country. Absolutely no, we cannot allow this to happen again."

The National Public Health Emergency Team will consider the taskforce's recommendations at a meeting tomorrow.

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