Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.34 1 Jun 2021


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A travel expert says PCR tests for children over six are another barrier for families who want to travel.

It comes after Children's Minister Roderic O’Gorman said those aged seven and older will need to take a test.

He earlier told Newstalk Breakfast: "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.

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"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", he said.

But it is feared the need for tests will add to the expense of a holiday, with Ireland favouring the more expensive PCR tests over cheaper antigen tests.

Travel expert Sarah Slattery told Pat Kenny this could see extra costs for families going abroad.

"In fairness a lot of countries in Europe are favouring PCR as well, but the main difference is that the prices are a lot lower abroad.

"The average cost in Spain or Portugal is around €50 for a PCR test, it's about €90 to €100 here - so there is a big difference for people travelling.

"There are some countries that are allowing antigen tests as well, but I think the main concern at the moment is over the cost.

"I can't see us changing our position on antigen, not anytime soon anyway".

Flexible booking options

Citing the example of France providing free testing, Sarah said: "There is a lot more we can do, it is certainly a big issue particularly for families travelling.

"It's not only the expense as well, it's the fact that if they do test positive in 72 hours, what happens then?

"It's just another barrier in the way for getting people back travelling again".

She added that people should be on the look out for flexible booking options.

"Something I think to point out is that it's really important that if families are booking, that they make sure they have the flexible booking options.

"Aer Lingus will allow you change your flights two hours beforehand, or at least if you booked with a travel agent you'll have that back up to be able to call them and change your details.

"That's really vital for people who haven't booked yet... there are some really good flexible booking options out there, but just make sue you avail of them."

It has also been revealed that HSE PCR tests are not valid for international travel, despite initial suggestions from Minister O'Gorman that they were.

He has since tweeted: "Just one clarification, HSE tests cannot be used for the Digital Green Cert."

Main image: People walk to their cars after arriving at an airport in the US state of California in May 2021. Picture by: Gregory Bull/AP/Press Association Images

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Antigen Tests Children Flights Ireland PCR Tests Pat Kenny Roderic O'Gorman Sarah Slattery Travel

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