Taoiseach welcomes planned lifting of US travel ban

Taoiseach welcomes planned lifting of US travel ban

The Taoiseach has welcomed the US administration’s decision to lift the 18-month blanket ban on foreign travellers entering the country.

Micheál Martin was speaking after a meeting with Governor of New York State Kathy Hochul.

Mr Martin said that he welcomed the announcement that the ban on foreign travellers entering the country, introduced by former president Donald Trump at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, would be removed in November.

He told reporters that the decision was “important economically for Ireland, particularly aviation and tourism”.

He also said it was significant given the presence of large US companies in Ireland.

Mr Martin said that it “gives us confidence now that the final phase of travel and tourism is about to get a considerable fillip as a result of the decision”.

Mr Martin is in New York for a week of engagements at the UN General Assembly.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney also said that the announcement was positive news for Ireland.

Irish travellers will be able to visit the US from November if they are fully vaccinated.

“This is something that we, along with our EU colleagues, have been advocating for a considerable time and we have alerted the US Administration to the high levels of vaccination within Ireland,” Mr Coveney said.

“Ensuring ease of travel is vital for protecting our strong connections across the Atlantic, be that in business, academia, tourism or family connections.” “With 90% of Irish adults now fully vaccinated, I know this will come as very good news for many in Ireland, the Irish living in the United States, as well as our American friends with links to Ireland and the rest of Europe.”

The daa, who manage Dublin and Cork airports, welcomed the news saying it will "prove to be a timely boost for transatlantic travel in both directions especially through Dublin Airport".

A spokesperson said: "Dublin Airport’s strategic position as a hub airport between North America and the European Union has been hard won with our airline partners so this development is something the industry has been advocating for some time".

The spokesperson added that families and friends "can look forward to reuniting again in person this year at Thanksgiving and Christmas."

On Monday evening, Ireland’s Ambassador to the US, Daniel Mulhall, called it a “positive development”.

White House Covid-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients, who announced the end of the travel ban, said all foreign visitors will need to demonstrate proof of vaccination as well as proof of a negative test taken with the previous three days.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognises people who have received the Pfizer, Moderna or Janssen from Johnson & Johnson jab as fully vaccinated, but travellers who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine will also be able to enter because the US acknowledges its approval by the World Health Organisation.

Airlines will be required to collect contact information from international travellers so that they can be traced if required.

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