Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke has challenged the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs to provide clarity and guidance for those who have paid upfront to travel abroad this summer.
The Meath East TD sought answers as to whether these people will be provided with refunds if an anomaly arises where airlines are permitted to reopen routes but government restrictions mean foreign travel remains unfeasible due to 14-day self-quarantine requirements for anyone who arrives back into the state from overseas.
Speaking this evening after the Special Covid Committee sitting, Teachta O’Rourke said:
“Families across Ireland who booked their summer holidays months ago, before the Covid-19 pandemic ever arrived, have been left in limbo.
“They don’t know if they will be permitted to travel or whether they will lose thousands of euro that they have already spent.
“The government is giving people no answers. Neither the Department of Health nor the Department of Foreign Affairs could provide any clarity when asked about this issue today.
“As other European countries are preparing to welcome tourists later this summer, those who arrive on our shores from overseas are being told to self-isolate for 14 days.
“The government’s handling of this issue has been all over the place. When we should have had strict conditions on inward travel back in March, nothing was done, while the passenger locator form only became mandatory last week.
“People are now hearing airline representatives and public health experts sparring in the media about holidays, but silence from Government Buildings on this issue.
“The government needs to publish a roadmap for travel, to give clarity to those who have financially committed to holidays, and to give our tourist industry some idea of when they could be welcoming back tourists from countries that now have Covid-19 under control.
“We certainly don’t want to see a situation where airlines are reopening routes, but citizens lose thousands of euro due to a 14-day quarantine on their return, which would make travelling abroad unfeasible for most in the first place.
“There needs to be clarity here and if a 14-day quarantine is to apply, people need assurances that they can obtain refunds from airlines in the event of such a scenario.”