Ireland is on track to roll out the new EU international travel cert in two weeks’ time, the Transport Minister has told The Hard Shoulder.
The new EU Digital Green Certificate was officially rolled in every member state except Ireland last Thursday.
It allows people to travel anywhere in the EU - provided they are fully vaccinated, have fully recovered from COVID or undergo a negative COVID test.
Ireland is due to roll it out on July 19th when restrictions on international travel will be eased for those who qualify.
In recent days concerns have been raised over whether the Government would hit that deadline; however, on The Hard Shoulder, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said he was confident there will be no problems.
“We do need now to restore connectivity,” he said. “We need to allow Irish people to meet their families and also people on business need to fly - to travel and meet their customers and so on - and people need to go on holidays.
“But we have to do it safely and the COVID cert will help that. We need to get away from this whole shaming thing that maybe occurred last summer, where we start blaming all sorts of different people for what is happening with the virus.
“We are going to see an increase in cases – people know this now from that advice we got from NPHET last week. The Delta variant is going to cause an increase in cases.
“The real question is can we manage it in a way where our hospitalisation rates are still manageable and I am confident we will be able to.”
Minister Ryan said the Government wants to avoid a stop-start reopening – and is aiming to ensure that anything that opens does not have to close down again later.
He said the vaccine rollout will ensure the return of international travel on July 19th.
“COVID does not do certainty; It is constantly changing but at the moment we are on track to reopen aviation on the 19th,” he said. “To see the certs in place.
“We will still have to be careful, we will still have to monitor it, we will still be cautious because I think that is the appropriate public health approach – but that reconnecting of families and reconnecting the island is an important part of reopening and that is on track.”
The COVID immunity period for the cert will be set at 180 days, rather than the nine months originally suggested by Government.
Antigen tests are expected to be accepted; however, only if they are administered by a professional.
Minister Ryan was talking to Kieran Cuddihy as part of The Hard Shoulder’s ‘Cabinet Confidential’ series of interviews with top Government ministers.
He discussed a range of issues related to his brief including green energy, motorways, transport infrastructure and E-scooter legislation.
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