“Digital Certificate for International Travel not a perfect solution, but edges us towards normality” – MacManus
Midlands Northwest MEP says Digital Green Certificate must not be abused by Dublin government
Following a European Parliament vote which clears the way for a new vaccination digital certificate system, Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has extended a guarded welcome to the initiative but insists a cautious approach must be taken to ensure it is a success.
Speaking from Brussels, the Midlands Northwest MEP said, “People are understandably tired of lockdown. For many who have been living in extreme isolation, the last year or so has been nothing short of a nightmare. The news of a digital certificate for international travel will be welcomed by many and it signals a return to some level of normality.”
“Let’s be very clear though. The Digital Certificate system is not a silver bullet. This is purely a system to enable a careful reopening of travel in the EU. We must continue to work together following the public health advice to keep each other safe. Our Governments must play their part by putting in place robust systems for testing and tracing, quarantining and building health system capacity.”
MacManus said the introduction of the Digital Certificate initiative must not be abused by the Dublin government and its implementation must be done fairly and through robust protection of citizens’ data.
“The digital certificate is to enable a return to international travel. What we have voted for is a system that paves a way for safe and coordinated return to travel between countries. Nothing more, Nothing less. The certificate cannot be used to oblige governments to drop other public health measures, such as quarantine periods, aimed at preventing the import of new strains of Covid.”
The Midlands Northwest MEP said fairness and security will be the central pillars of a successful system. “We must guard against inequality and the risk of further disadvantaging those who are being made wait longest to access a vaccine. Many of our young people have made huge sacrifices in the last year and in the majority of cases have still not received a vaccination. This initiative must have trust, honesty and integrity at its heart. Many people expressed concerns about the security of their information in the event of such a rollout, so it is vital that any information recorded and any technologies involved are impenetrably robust to properly protect our peoples’ privacy and guard against any possible cyber-attack or fraudulent interventions. The system must be fully GDPR compliant and only the most basic of personal information should be held and for a time limited period. The insertion of a sunset clause was vital in this regard. There is no room for error. It’s a matter of trust.”
MacManus also outlined the importance of an exemption of special cases. “From day one we have highlighted that any green cert system should have a mechanism that provides for persons who are unable to avail of vaccinations because of medical reasons. We are pleased to see this has been addressed.”
MacManus concluded by pledging his party’s commitment to closely monitoring every stage of the process. “As the digital vaccination certificate system gets up and running, we will be watching closely to ensure every detail is carried out satisfactorily. We will maintain a healthy scepticism throughout the process to guarantee the integrity of the project. The concept of a Digital Certificate is by no means a perfect solution, but on this occasion it is clear that the ‘pros’ outweigh the ‘cons’ and its introduction will hopefully edge us towards some kind of normality in terms of travelling abroad.” ENDS