The Tánaiste has broken ranks with his Cabinet colleagues over plans for a ‘green list’ of countries for international travel.
The Government is this evening expected to publish a list of countries people can travel to without quarantining for 14-days on their return.
However, the official advice not to travel outside the country except for essential reasons is to remain in place.
In a statement this afternoon, a spokesman for Leo Varadkar said he “believes strongly that it’s wrong to send out mixed messages about international travel.”
“The Tánaiste believes there should be a green list as was previously agreed by the Government but if the travel advice for countries on the green List isn’t different to advice for other countries, then we would be better off not having a green list at all,” reads the statement.
Statement from Leo Varadkar who’s basically saying if people are going to be advised not to travel to countries on the Greenlist then there shouldn’t be a list at all pic.twitter.com/MdRcPkPT7S
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) July 21, 2020
The list will include countries that have low levels of the virus or have been as successful in containing it as Ireland.
Mr Varadkar announced it at the end of last month; however, it has twice been delayed by the new government.
Should it go ahead as planned, it is likely to include countries like Norway, Finland, Cyprus, Malta and Hungary.
The Government is expected to warn that the list should not be treated as a ‘holiday list’ and all non-essential travel should still be avoided.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, the Taoiseach Micheál Martin said it would be extremely difficult to enforce stricter quarantines on people arriving in.
“Quarantine is a word that is bandied about the place with great ease and simplicity but you know and everybody knows there are great difficulties with enforcement around it,” he said.
“So, what we are saying is that the Government will be strengthening our presence and strategies around the airports, the airlines and in terms of the passenger locator form going online.”
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, travel expert Eoghan Corry labelled the situation “a bit of a farce at this stage.”
He warned that the confusion was leading people to ignore the advice and head off on holidays to countries that have higher levels of the virus.