Cross-Border meetings held on Covid certs for Irish citizens in North

Discussions aim to ‘scope an agreed solution’ as Northern Ireland relaxes some restrictions

Bilateral meetings have been held between officials from both sides of the Border to "scope an agreed solution" regarding EU Digital Covid Certificates for Irish citizens in the North, Northern Ireland's Department of Health said on Thursday.

A source told The Irish Times there was “political will to deal with this but the technicalities/legalities may get in the way in the short term at least”.

Speaking on RTÉ radio's Today show on Thursday, Minister of State for eGovernment Ossian Smyth said the Government was "working on a way" to issue the certs but he declined to give a timeframe.

"I know there have been meetings earlier this week to figure out a way to validate whether . . . to meet the data protection rules, that if somebody has been vaccinated in Northern Ireland that they can receive a digital Covid cert," he said.


“They will be able to avail of it. It’s not a two-tier system.”

He also said the scheme would be extended to Irish passport holders in the rest of the UK.

A Northern Ireland Covid certificate scheme for residents who have received both vaccinations in the jurisdiction is open for applications for people who intend to travel abroad on or before August 31st.

Some residents of the Republic of Ireland who were vaccinated in the North have told The Irish Times they have so far been unable to get a certificate.

According to the EU, citizens of the EU who were vaccinated in a non-EU country can request the EU Digital Covid Certificate from the member state of their nationality or residence.

The EU said it would be issued “if there is a reliable proof of vaccination and if the structure of the health system allows for it”.

Northern Ireland reported three further deaths of patients with Covid-19 on Thursday, and 1,610 new cases of the virus.

A total of 341 people with Covid-19 were receiving hospital treatment in the North, with 42 in intensive care.

At an Executive meeting on Thursday, Ministers agreed to relax a number of the Covid-19 rules still in force.

From Monday, August 16th, people who are fully vaccinated will no longer have to self-isolate for 10 days if a close contact tests positive for Covid-19.

Instead, they must take a PCR test on day two and day eight of the 10-day period.

The requirement for school bubbles will be removed for the beginning of the school year, but the wearing of face coverings will remain in place for the first six weeks.

The need to maintain social distancing on public transport at all times will be lifted.

Limits on the number of people who can gather in domestic settings outdoors have been removed, as have the restrictions on the number of people allowed at tables in the hospitality industry.

There will be a full return to face-to-face teaching at universities and further education colleges and conference centres can reopen, allowing the resumption of conferences and exhibitions.