Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has today said it was imperative that the government introduce testing solutions for arriving passengers before Christmas, to ensure family and friends can return home safely in December.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments came today at the Oireachtas Transport Committee which also heard this morning from the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Tony Holohan and Dr Cillian de Gascun, Chair of the Covid-19 Expert Advisory Group.
Speaking today, the Meath East TD said;
“I’ve been raising the need for airport checks and testing for arriving passengers since before the summer.
“It’s astonishing that the government have refused to do anything in this area.
“We have one of the most relaxed regimes in the world. You can arrive in from anywhere in the world, Covid hotspot or not, walk out the door of our airports and be on your way.
“You are required to fill in a ‘Passenger Locator Form’, but with over 80% of these not being followed up, they are completely pointless.
“With Christmas approaching, it is imperative that airport testing is put in place for passengers arriving from high risk countries, in addition to permitting pre-departure testing for those travelling.
“We need this to ensure family and friends returning from abroad for Christmas, can do so safely.
“If we continue with the current laissez faire approach, we run the risk of importing a significant number of Covid-19 cases in December, totally undermining the progress made here under Level 5.
“This morning Dr Holohan and Dr de Gascun highlighted the limitations of some forms of testing, such as antigen testing, however while no testing regime will catch 100% of cases, an imperfect airport testing system is better than no system at all.
“Perfect is the enemy of good when it comes to airport testing.
“With a little over seven weeks to go before Christmas, this must be prioritised. Minister Ryan’s lack of action in this area is totally unacceptable.”