Children over six will need to take a PCR test before travelling within the EU, the Children’s Minister has said.
It comes as the Government prepares to allow foreign travel - including for holidays - to resume from next month, under the EU’s digital green cert system.
The system is set to come into effect for Ireland from July 19th, subject to the public health situation at the time.
People will be able to travel freely within the EU as long as they have proof they’ve been fully vaccinated, have a negative PCR test result, or recovered from COVID-19 within the last nine months.
Under the proposals, children aged between 7 and 18 who have not been vaccinated must also have a negative PCR test.
This has led to concerns that families who wish to travel could face a significant bill for testing.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Children’s Minister Roderic O’Gorman said children aged seven and older will need to take a test.
He explained: “I understand the EU is setting an age limit of six, and below six the PCR test won’t need to be taken - but over six it will.
“This is part of the digital COVID certificate, to allow greater movement among the 27 EU member states. I think that’s going to be a really positive step.”
The minister said it's vital to find a balance between freedom of movement and ensuring cases of COVID-19 are identified.
The PCR test requirement could lead to some sizeable bills for families hoping to travel abroad this summer.
Currently, private testing at Dublin airport costs around €90 per person, with results arriving within 24 hours.
Minister O’Gorman said: “It will be most applicable in Ireland when they’re coming back from another member state - obviously the PCR test will need to be undertaken in another member state before they leave.
“My understanding is the HSE facilities [here] will constitute a PCR test that’s acceptable within the EU green cert.”
However, he later corrected that final point on Twitter - saying HSE tests cannot be used for the digital green cert.
I spoke to Newstalk Breakfast earlier about our #SummerOfPlay announcement, full details are on my Department’s website here: https://t.co/HwRMxCdJWN
Just one clarification, HSE tests cannot be used for the Digital Green Cert. More detail on travel here: https://t.co/VPNAIM5Mrn https://t.co/ed0fPBAx04
— Roderic O’Gorman TD (@rodericogorman) June 1, 2021