January 8, 2021
Simon Coveney’s pre-departure test comments ‘incredible and reckless’ – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Transport Darren O’Rourke TD has responded to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney’s comments regarding Germany’s introduction of pre-departure Covid-19 tests for Irish arrivals.

Teachta O’Rourke said;

“I was genuinely shocked at the incredible comments made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs this morning in relation to pre-departure tests for international arrivals.

“Responding to the new requirement for a negative pre-departure test for Irish arrivals into Germany, Minister Simon Coveney said the government would not be introducing similar arrangements here and won’t engage in a ‘tit-for-tat’ on this issue. This is an incredible response from the Minister.

“This isn’t about diplomatic niceties. This is about protecting our citizens from Covid-19 and monitoring international arrivals into our ports and airports forms an essential part of that.

“We are in the midst of the worst wave of Covid-19 and the need for strict checks and restrictions on international arrivals has never been greater.

“We currently have a wholly inadequate system when it comes to international arrivals.

“There is no requirement for a negative pre-departure test; save for Britain and South Africa. There is no legal obligation for a post-arrival test and our quarantine/self-isolation regime is voluntary in effect and entirely unmonitored. It is wholly inadequate.

“Given the current state of affairs , Sinn Féin believes a blanket requirement for a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test should be introduced for all countries. Likewise, a negative test post-arrival. Our quarantine regime should be mandatory, enforceable and enforced.

“There are a range of robust approaches taken internationally. It is quite clear that Ireland remains at the extreme end of lax. In the context of the current Covid-19  crisis, this is completely reckless.

“The government have been on the backfoot since the beginning when it comes to international travel and it seems they have neither the understanding nor intention to address this persistent weakness in our Covid-19 response.”

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