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Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has accused the Government of relying on a ‘fingers crossed’ approach to managing the risks posed by international travel at our ports and airports.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Murphy said:

“Ireland is due to sign up to the European traffic light system for international travel this weekend. However, the success of this system requires each country to have its own domestic measures in place – which we clearly do not.

“Earlier this week, Minister Eamon Ryan told the Oireachtas Transport Committee that a senior cross-departmental technical working group would report back to the Government on November 10 with a plan to establish approved Covid-19 tests for international travel. We have yet to learn the detail of any such plan.

“In the absence of a robust testing system at our ports and airports, we are taking a fingers crossed approach to managing the risks. Between September 1 and October 30, almost 400,000 Covid passenger locator forms were submitted and this is the only system in place to mitigate the risk.

“We are aware of the scenario where one person who travelled to Ireland from abroad was responsible for 56 Covid-19 cases. The Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said this week that the movement of populations where there are high infection rates was not safe, particularly in Europe and America – and he noted that the majority of countries are ‘red and getting redder’.

“As an island nation, we know the importance of the aviation sector, which has been badly damaged by the pandemic. Until such a time that sufficient domestic measures are put in place at our airports, Ireland will continue to be behind the curve when it comes to managing the risks posed by international travel.”

November 5, 2020

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