'Completely untenable' to stop flights and ferries into Northern Ireland, DUP insists

'Completely untenable' to stop flights and ferries into Northern Ireland, DUP insists

Signs at George Best Belfast City Airport advising that only those travelling are permitted to enter the terminal.'Comple

The DUP’s Jeffrey Donaldson has said that the suggestion that flights and ferries from the UK to Northern Ireland should be stopped in a bid to halt the spread of Covid-19 was “completely untenable”.

Air and sea links were necessary as they were very important for the economy, he told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

“We’ve already said that people should not make non-essential journeys across the Irish Sea.” 

If flights and ferries were stopped then it would mean that the “entire public sector” would have to be shut down, he added.

The Northern Ireland Executive had already taken additional measures by extending the lockdown to March 5.

Mr Donaldson said the North still did not have access to travel locator forms for people who arrived into Dublin and then went on to the North. The issue had been with the Irish government for nine months, he said.

“We have been told by the civil service that it is a political decision to allow the sharing of this information.”

In the Republic, tighter restrictions for people travelling into the State will be brought forward this week by Government.

A number of senior Government sources have confirmed that it is "highly likely" that those entering the State will be subject to new controls.

However, despite tighter restrictions being brought in this week, there is no appetite within Government to seal the border to stop people travelling into the State from the North.

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