‘Substantive decision’ on travel at future meeting of the Cabinet - Taoiseach

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan says ‘we can’t seal off the country’

 Taoiseach: Micheál Martin (FF) Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment: Leo Varadkar (FG)and Minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan (Greens) as the new Cabinet Ministers leave Dublin Castle following their first meeting.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Taoiseach: Micheál Martin (FF) Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment: Leo Varadkar (FG)and Minister for Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport Eamon Ryan (Greens) as the new Cabinet Ministers leave Dublin Castle following their first meeting.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

 

A “substantive decision” will be taken at a future Cabinet meeting on the potential easing of the travel restrictions and the two week quarantine, Taoiseach

Micheál Martin has said.

“We would look at European methodology around this in terms of a science based approach,” the Taoiseach said at a post-Cabinet briefing

Green Party leader and Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan said “we can’t seal off the country”.

“We are in a Common Travel Area with the UK, we have a border with the North and there is still flights coming in at the moment. But we will have to manage the risk, which is the key thing here and it is a risk.

“We are going to have to be very careful in terms of Covid as it flares up and act quickly in local areas.”

Mr Ryan said that people should continue to restrict “travel to when it is absolutely necessary” and encouraged people to take staycations in Ireland this summer rather than travel abroad.

Last week, the outgoing government committed to compiling a “green list” of countries with low infection rates with which travel would be allowed from July 9th.

On Monday chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said people who have booked overseas trips should not travel at present due to the risk to themselves, families and the wider society, according to .

Asked whether people should cancel their summer holidays abroad, Dr Holohan said public health officials would like them not to travel in their individual interest and in the collective interest.

He urged holidaymakers to think about the risk to themselves, family members and for society. “Think about other people and the risk you might pose even if you [IF INFECTED]recover very well, for people who are more vulnerable.”

Earlier speaking after the Cabinet meeting, the Taoiseach indicated that the wage subsidy scheme, which is due to end in August, may remain in place for longer for certain sectors of the economy.

Mr Martin indicated that the future of the scheme, as well as the €350 Covid payment, will be considered as part of the July stimulus package.

“What you are looking at in the first phase, there was a very comprehensive response in terms of the pandemic payment, in terms of the wage subsidy, you will perhaps now begin to see a fine tuning of that, a targeting of that to the sectors that can give a response,” Mr Martin said. “There will have to be an analysis and an evaluation, a very careful evaluation of how existing schemes are working, to make sure they are effective enough to sustain jobs.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there are still 900,000 people relying on State support for their income but warned that there is “enormous equality…opening up”.

“Young people are much worse affected that older people, private sector much worse affected than people in the public sector.”

Latest figures show the number of people receiving the special Covid-19 pandemic unemployment payment has fallen to 439,000, the Department of Social Protection said on Monday. This represents a reduction of 26,900 on the number of people who were receiving the benefit last week.

The Department of Social Protection said there were also 405,000 people working for 63,500 employers who were having their pay supported by the Government’s separate Temporary Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme .