December 21, 2020
Clarity, repatriation flights and PSO shipping routes now needed – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has called on the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to quickly address the chaos facing stranded Irish citizens and hauliers due to the emergency travel ban.

Speaking today, the Meath East TD said;

“It is clear that the unfolding public health situation in Britain means that a travel ban was needed in terms of travel to the south and is needed for inbound flights to the north, but this has left many citizens stranded and desperate for clarity.

“Repatriation flights and ferry crossings for Irish residents need to be organised without delay, and those arriving home should be provided with Covid-19 tests.

“People also need to know if this travel ban could last for weeks. The drip feed of information is exacerbating the stress people are now facing.

“People have families, they have work commitments and they need certainty.

“The traffic chaos in Britain and France as a result of the Channel Tunnel closing is now causing huge issues for Irish hauliers and alternatives need to be arranged.

“While direct sailings to the continent take much longer, and do not suit certain goods such as perishables, we don’t want to see Irish hauliers stuck in miles of traffic through England or on the continent, due to this travel ban or because of a no-deal Brexit.

“In response to the Irish Maritime Development Office report which examined our current shipping connections to the continent, Sinn Féin called on the government to plan for State operated freight connections to the continent.

“We said leaving it solely up to private companies to put such essential shipping connections in place was a very risky strategy.

“This problem came to the fore today when the land-bridge was cut off and we had no direct sailings to the European mainland today.

“Hauliers, importers and exporters need certainty now and it is clear that the government should step in and provide emergency PSO shipping routes to the continent.”

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