Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today called on Minister Eamon Ryan to immediately address the conflicting advice for those travelling from Denmark onto the island of Ireland.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments come as a ban on travellers from Denmark was put in place north of the border this weekend, but the Irish government chose not to follow an all-Ireland approach, maintaining much looser restrictions here.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“A travel ban on all visitors coming from Denmark came into force in the north of Ireland and Britain over the weekend.
“This was in response to the outbreak in humans of a mutated form of Covid-19 linked to mink farms there.
“While this mutated strain may not be more severe in humans than the current virus, we simply do not know at this stage, and therefore we should be pro-active instead of re-active until more information is available.
“Instead of taking a similar decision and ensuring we have an all-Ireland approach, Minister Ryan has bizarrely opted for extremely loose restrictions here in comparison to requirements north of the border.
“This shows no lessons have been learned when it comes to harmonising public health restrictions across our island during this pandemic, and also that international travel continues to be a blind spot for this government when it comes to Covid-19.
“It makes sense to follow the approach in the north and Britain where they have now banned all visitors from Denmark, while citizens returning home will have to self-isolate with their family for 14-days.
“The requirement here to ‘restrict movements’ for 14 days is extremely weak in comparison, particularly when you consider 82% of those who fill in the Passenger Locator Form are not followed up on.
“According to the latest figures available, over 1,000 people arrived in from Denmark over the last month.
“This is not an insignificant number and so Minister Eamon Ryan needs to reverse his decision and introduce the same rules as the north, to try and prevent the importation of this mutated form of Covid-19 onto our island.”