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01st Dec 2021

Stephen Donnelly defends new travel restrictions, calls Ryanair’s comments “odd”

Ellen Fitzpatrick

People aren’t happy.

The Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has defended the new travel plans set out by the Government but has slammed Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary’s comments about the situation.

With the new rules for travel amid a number of restrictions coming in, the airline boss deemed the Government’s plans “gobbledygook” and accused them and NPHET of “making it up as they go along.”

Stephen Donnelly has of course totally disagreed, defending the plans while on RTE Prime Time on Tuesday evening, telling Sarah McInerney: “We’ve talked to the airlines and the Department of Health will be engaging further, but I would say this:

“Ryanair do this (system) all over Europe, their comments are quite odd seeing as they implement it all over the world.”

O’Leary brought up a number of questions in Ryanair’s statement regarding the new rules, such as: “How are airline or Border Control staff supposed to understand what a professionally done antigen test is, or looks like, when neither the CMO nor the Govt have even defined it.”

Responding on Prime Time, Donnelly said: “I would ask Ryanair given that they implement this, how are they checking? They’re doing it every day. Their comments in terms of Ireland are very odd.

“Neither I, nor Government have said that antigen tests mean nothing. As with masks, vaccines, there is no silver bullet for Covid. On antigen tests, ourselves and Portugal will be in the front but in most of the EU, they’re used regularly, for example if you don’t have a Covid pass you can take a test.”

All travellers entering Ireland will be required to present a negative Covid test, Cabinet has agreed.

Everyone entering the country must present a “professionally administered” antigen test completed within 48 hours before arrival or a PCR test carried out 72 hours prior to arrival.

Pic: Rolling News/Sasko Lazarov