Varadkar reveals what's needed for foreign travel this summer

Varadkar reveals what's needed for foreign travel this summer

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that while it was right for the chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan to advise against travel without full vaccination, the Government has to take a wider view in its decision making.

People who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can travel abroad from July 19, but they will need the Digital Covid Certificate and negative PCR tests.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that while it was right for the chief medical officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan to advise against travel without full vaccination, the Government has to take a wider view in its decision making.

Mr Varadkar said a proposed pilot project in relation to antigen testing for the aviation sector will not be in place by July 19.

“I don't think so,” he said on RTÉ.

Accepting this will be a blow to those working in aviation, Mr Varadkar said: “I appreciate that and you know I represent Dublin West. 

"I have a huge number of people in my constituency who work in the airport to work in airlines, and we want them to be flying again on July 19. 

"But the best thing we can do is to do this cautiously and safely,” he said.

I would rather open in a way that safe and slow and sustainable than reopen travel on July 19, and then have to shut it all down again, in the middle of August.

He said the Government is putting laws in place which are different to the CMO's advice, taking fairness into account, particularly for young people, who are at the back of the queue for Covid-19 vaccines.

The health minister, Stephen Donnelly, also told RTÉ he has asked the CMO and the HSE to start putting together a plan on vaccinations for the coming autumn and winter. 

This should include school vaccinations, HPV vaccinations and the flu vaccine campaign.

He also added it could potentially include boosters for Covid-19 if that is required for some groups of vulnerable people.

He said the mass vaccination centres have proved “hugely successful” and it is hoped that some of these at least will remain in use throughout the year.

Sunday brought an additional 288 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, according to the Department of Health.

As of midnight on Saturday there were 49 people in hospital with the disease, of whom 15 are in intensive care units.

Varadkar 'always felt welcome' in NI

Meanwhile, Mr Varadkar has also dismissed claims by the Loyalist Communities Council (LCC) that he is no longer welcome in Northern Ireland.

The LCC, a group representing loyalist paramilitary organisations, said Irish government ministers and officials would not be welcome as long as difficulties over the Northern Ireland Protocol remain.

But Mr Varadkar has rejected the suggestion, saying the LCC does not represent the views of the majority of Unionists or people in the North.

He said: "With the greatest respect to them, I don't think the Loyalist Community Council decides who's welcome in Northern Ireland and who isn't.

I've always felt welcome in Northern Ireland, I was there last week, in Co Fermanagh and I felt very welcome.

"Irish government ministers will continue to travel to Northern Ireland to engage with people from all backgrounds.

Mr Varadkar said he “takes on board” some of the criticism about the timing of his speech this week on the unification of Ireland but said to some it will always be the wrong time.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.