Indoor dining still closed in Ireland because of ‘scariant variant’, says O’Leary

Ryanair boss says other countries have opened up without ‘scare stories’ from Nphet

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photograph: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga/AFP

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary. Photograph: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga/AFP

 

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has said that it was nonsense that indoor dining in restaurants and bars in Ireland was still closed and that children could not travel with their vaccinated parents without a negative PCR test or having to quarantine for 14 days on their return.

There were no such restrictions in the UK or elsewhere in the EU, he told RTÉ radio’s Today with Claire Byrne show.

This was “more of scariant variant coming out of Nphet,” he added.

While he would not “belittle” the Delta variant, “what HSE and Nphet keep ignoring is that the link between case numbers and serious illness and hospitalisations has effectively been broken by the vaccine,” he added.

“We have 27 other EU member states who have, from July 1st, removed travel restrictions for vaccinated adults and children under-18. Ireland is the only country out of 28 members, that hasn’t issued the digital Covid cert and is now saying that children under 18 who do not pose a risk cannot travel without a PCR test and quarantine.

"All vulnerable groups in Ireland had been vaccinated. The rest of Europe had moved on.

“In Ireland we’re still hiding in the dark corner with Nphet out there pontificating on about their scariant variant when we have 17 people in ICUs and only 50 people in our hospitals.

“With the greatest of respect Nphet keeping coming out with ‘ohhh case numbers, case numbers’ which have been rising for the last three weeks with no significant increase in either ICUs or hospitalisations. The link has essentially been broken.”

Lockdowns

Mr O’Leary asked “why would you have to lockdown schools in September when by that time we will have 60 percent of our adult population fully vaccinated and you’ll start vaccinating the children as well.”

Vaccination had completely changed this whole narrative, he said. “We’re not going to be locking down schools.

“There will be a rise in Delta cases, what there won’t be is a rise in hospitalisations or an overwhelmed ICU system.”

Mr O’Leary said that increased cases had not seen a rise in hospitalisations or serious illness because all vulnerable groups had been vaccinated.

“We’re still talking about locking people up, keeping people locked down, Nphet is there with their nonsense about keeping the restaurants closed.

“We have to include under-18 children in whatever measures we take, so that families can move together whether to go for a meal in a restaurant or a holiday in Portugal.

“The real prize here is to get our tourism industry restarted — we need to start welcoming UK families in here.”

Vaccination had transformed the situation, he said. “We have 27 other EU states where people are free to move around, who are vaccinated, children under 18 can eat in restaurants. In Ireland we’re still locked up.

“Who is it we are protecting with these ridiculous and frankly, unique, lockdown measures which apply in no other member state,” he asked.

“Other countries have opened up and they’ve done it without scare stories from Nphet and RTÉ.”