Stocktake: O’Leary is right to query Ireland’s flight restrictions

Irish approach in tightening visitor restrictions is increasingly out of step with our European neighbours

Dublin airport. Germany is set to allow European travel by mid-June, while Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are all hoping international travel will salvage their tourist season. Photograph: Getty Images

Dublin airport. Germany is set to allow European travel by mid-June, while Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are all hoping international travel will salvage their tourist season. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Ryanair shares surged last week as airline stocks took off following the relaxation of travel restrictions across Europe. In Ireland, however, visitor restrictions are being tightened – a source of great ire to Michael O’Leary, who dismissed “ineffective quarantine measures” and called for Irish people to “go back flying” from July.

O’Leary’s intervention was rubbished by Dr Gabriel Scally, who said O’Leary “might have a vested interest”.

That’s true, but it doesn’t mean that O’Leary hasn’t a point. Taking people’s names and addresses at the airport and then letting them “loose into the buses and the taxis” (O’Leary’s words) before arriving at their registered address is not a plan that inspires confidence. Of course, it can work indirectly in that no one will travel to or from Ireland under such a regime.

However, Europe is moving towards removing restrictions, not tightening them. Germany is set to allow European travel by mid-June, while Spain, Italy, Greece and Cyprus are all hoping international travel will salvage their tourist season.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control last week cautioned that border closures had very negative economic effects while doing little to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

O’Leary isn’t a disinterested observer in this debate, but that doesn’t mean he’s wrong in questioning an Irish approach that is increasingly out of step with our European neighbours.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.