We ignore NPHET travel warnings 'at our peril' - Opposition

We ignore NPHET travel warnings 'at our peril' - Opposition
Picture: Eddie O'Hare

The opposition are united in their concerns about the government's "green list" for travel.

The list, which is due to be published today after a cabinet meeting will include a shortlist of countries that are deemed "safe" to travel to due to their similar or lower rate of Coronavirus to Ireland.

Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats and Labour have all spoken out against the idea due to the contradictory nature of telling people they can only travel for "essential purposes" and publishing a list of countries safe for foreign travel.

Social Democrat co-leader Roisin Shorthall warned against ignoring the public health advice published in a letter by NPHET last week, "I think more importantly, we haven't heard yet government about their intentions, in respect of those countries that don't make the green list, those countries that have high levels of the virus," she said.

"A couple of weeks ago, we saw the government actually weakening the advice to people coming in from high-risk countries and moving away from the recommendations."

"There has been quite a marked shift in emphasis on safety measures, since the new government formed, and I think they have been distracted, and I think their focus has been elsewhere.  

"The strategy seems to be very ad hoc and keeping their fingers crossed. 

"That's just not good enough. 

"There are very clear alarm bells being rung by NPHET, and we ignore those at our peril." 

  

12% of recent new Coronavirus cases in Ireland were the result of international travel, as well as a significant number of clusters.

There have also been concerns about the lack of temperature tests in Irish airports, and lack of enforcement of quarantine for tourists arriving in the state.

Likewise, Sinn Féin's Darren O'Rourke says there has been "absolute confusion" in relation to the list.

"We have said consistently that the policy approach from government has been incompletely incoherent, confused and confusing.

"If there is going to be a green list, it needs to be matched with a response, not just in terms of the list but in terms of the checks and controls that are airports and that's the crucial piece that's missing because it's around testing and quarantining, and that reflects that the threat and the green list in and of itself, won't do anything close to that."

It's understood there has been consistent conflict between Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens over the issue, with Eamon Ryan and Micheál Martin's parties both against the idea of publishing the list.

 

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