Michael Staines
Michael Staines

16.13 22 Jun 2020


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The reopening of the Aran Islands should happen on a phased basis, according to the outgoing Minister of State for the Gaeltacht.

The islands are expected to reopen to tourists when the ban on travel throughout Ireland is lifted next Monday June 29th.

However, local communities have expressed concern that large numbers of visitors could lead to outbreaks on the islands.

Speaking to Moncrieff this afternoon, the outgoing Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, Senator Seán Kyne said his department was recommending a phased reopening.

“I have myself recommended through Roinn na Gaeltachta … that there be a sort of a phased reopening if you like.

“That they prioritise those with island connections or those who have residence of the island, a holiday home or whatever, and that they get preference initially and that there be full reopening then on July 29th.”

Aran Islands Three tourists enjoy the Aran Islands, 05-09-2011. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

He said many islanders are nervous about reopening, after not seeing any tourists for a “long, long number of months.”

“I think they would be perhaps more comforted to be seeing people they would know initially before there is a full opening,” he said.

“There is concern. I have spoken to the doctor on Inis Mór today and she has her concerns about a too-quick reopening.

“Those are the challenges that we face.”

He said authorities are now examining the safest ways to reopen the islands.

“I have been on to the County Council as well in Galway today to ensure there are proper markings and queuing and social distancing signage on the piers as well and I know that other local authorities are looking at that as well,” he said.


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