Jack Quann
Jack Quann

09.25 9 Jun 2021


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There is a call on the Government to bring in a 'no-cost' PCR test for people travelling this summer.

It comes as the European Parliament approved the Digital Green Certificate for international travel.

The plans, which will allow for travel across the bloc, were voted on by MEPs on Tuesday, and passed with 546 votes to 93 - and 51 abstentions.

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The new system will apply from July 1st and be in place for 12 months.

The cert is due to be introduced in Ireland on July 19th as international travel resumes.

It will show if a passenger has been vaccinated, tested negative for or has recovered from the coronavirus.

However concerns remain over the costs of pre-travel tests.

The average cost in Spain or Portugal is around €50 for a PCR test, while in Ireland it is between €90 to €100.

Irish Travel Agents Association (ITAA) member Claire Dunne told Newstalk Breakfast we should follow France's example on PCR testing.

"I think it would be very helpful if they brought down the cost of [PCR tests].

"I think France has brought in a no-cost exit PCR test.

"It would be really prohibitive to families to have to go for PCR tests - I think it's about €100 still per test.

"So even a couple travelling, it's a big wham, a big addition to their holiday costs.

"So it'd be really helpful if the Government stepped in and brought that cost down in line with other EU countries."

And she said the vaccine passport will take away the stigma of going away during a pandemic.

"It really is good news, and we're hoping that it will be implemented really swiftly.

"It has been passed by the EU and member states have six weeks in order to implement it once it's passed.

"So we're expecting that it will go to schedule - the Taoiseach has said the 19th of July.

"And everybody around the country, all of the ITAA members around the country, are waiting with bated breath for that to happen."

'People can talk about holidays again'

She said while travel agents have had a lot of interest from members of the public, she expects travel to be staggered.

"I wouldn't say everybody's going to start travelling straight away, but people are really excited to know that they can travel and that it's no longer illegal to go too the airport, it'll be no longer illegal to go on a holiday.

"And it'll be OK to talk about holidays; because that's been a big thing, that people really felt that they couldn't even talk about going on holiday because it wasn't the right thing to do.

"I think people are really looking forward to it, it'll be great to have the digital passport so they can just make their plans.

"It's really important, though, that they do take advice - and we're saying to people 'Do check - it's never been more important for them - to check with their local travel agent'.

"Things have changed, and they could change again - we're looking to the future really optimistically, but we know where we've come from in the past 18 months.

"So we just want to be sure that people know what they're booking and check the regulations and the rules [and] make sure that they will be able change".

EU travel: Call for Ireland to introduce 'no-cost' PCR test

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Main image: People in small boat going out to a yacht off La Basse Beach in Ibiza, Spain in July 2010. Picture by: Ian Cumming/Zuma Press/PA Images

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Claire Dunne Digital Green Certificate EU Travel European Parliament ITAA International Travel Ireland Newstalk Breakfast No-cost PCR Test PCR Test Pre-travel Test Vaccinated

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