‘Good news on the horizon’ on travel and summer holidays, says Coveney

Minister says over next ten days a plan about what to expect over the summer will emerge

A file image of a nearly deserted Dublin Airport. Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that ‘at some stage over the next number of months I think you will see the benefit of the potential for international travel again’

A file image of a nearly deserted Dublin Airport. Simon Coveney said on Wednesday that ‘at some stage over the next number of months I think you will see the benefit of the potential for international travel again’

 

There is “good news on the horizon” about allowing non-essential travel such as holidays abroad but any changes to travel advice will be gradual, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney has said.

He said the message was still that there should be no non-essential international travel but that may change over the summer months.

Mr Coveney said the Government is working towards being part of the European Commission’s green passport scheme which will make it easier for vaccinated people to travel throughout the EU.

That system will likely be in place in the EU from June and the Government will have to decide when to join that in conjunction with public health officials and based on risk levels, he said.

Mr Coveney said at some stage over the coming months people will see the potential for international travel again. “I think that is still some way off but certainly that is where this is going in terms of facilitating international at some point in the future.”

He said people should not be booking holidays abroad at this point and said any change to travel advice in the coming months would be gradual.

Mr Coveney also said the Government will be cautious in easing restrictions when the Cabinet meets to decide on the future roadmap next week.

“We will be cautious because the one thing I think the public won’t accept is if we start going backwards again on the numbers because we have come out of restrictions too quickly in an effort to give people too much good news too quickly.”

“You will get in the next ten days a pathway of what to expect over the summer months.

We are asking people to be vigilant and stay with us even though many people are frustrated and exhausted. The months of June, July, August and September will be months of progress, of loosening restrictions.

“We need to gradually emerge from those restrictions with caution. We still need to be aware are living in a global pandemic, it hasn’t gone away.”

He was speaking at the launch of the Government’s Be Summer Ready public safety campaign which is focusing on water safety.

“We have had a really tough year because of Covid-19 and as the weather gets better and the days get longer it is so important that we ensure that we are vigilant with regard to our personal safety when working or visiting the coast, lakes, rivers or our countryside.”

“Almost half of the population of Ireland lives within 5km of the sea and practically everyone lives within 20km of either the sea, a lake or a river. We also expect that this summer will see increased visitors to these areas as people holiday at home. So we are asking everyone to be alert to water safety.”

Minister of State at the Department of Transport Hildegarde Naughton said as the country emerges from “what has been a most challenging winter of restrictions, we are all looking forward to this summer with increased hope and anticipation. I think it is fair to say that our level of expectation and hope far exceeds anything we experienced for some time.”

She said given the restrictions on international travel there will likely be increased levels of activity on the coastline and on water this summer. She called on holidaymakers to “make a plan” before they go near the water, let someone know where they are going and when they plan to be back.

Minister Heather Humphreys outlined how there are approximately ten drownings in Ireland every month as she called on the public to report any damaged or missing ring buoys to their local authority.