The European Affairs Minister has denied claims by Ryanair CEO that Ireland’s delay in implementing the EU’s digital green certificate will lead to “chaos” at airports once international travel resumes.
Michael O’Leary said there was already “chaos” at Dublin Airport this week when fully vaccinated EU visitors were told that “they either had to spend 10 days in quarantine or they weren’t would not be allowed to enter at all “.
He also criticized the government’s late adoption of the EU travel pass. in an open letter to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.
New EU digital green certificate was deployed in every member state on Thursday except here.
The certificate will allow people to travel anywhere in the EU, provided they are fully vaccinated, have fully recovered from COVID, or test negative for COVID.
Ireland is expected to adopt the scheme from July 19, in line with the return of international travel.
Mr O’Leary called on Minister Ryan to “finally act” to activate the EU’s green certificate for fully vaccinated people.
In response, European Affairs Minister Thomas Byrne said Ireland was ready to comply with the travel pass system on July 19, adding that he did not anticipate long queues or confusion in Irish airports.
Speaking to Aideen Finnegan on Newstalk breakfast weekends, he said he was “surprised” to hear assertions from the boss of Ryanair that fully vaccinated people in the EU were threatened with compulsory quarantine in hotels.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary. Photo: Sam Boal / Rollingnews.ie
“I am very surprised to hear that anyone from Italy, Belgium or other European countries mentioned by Michael O’Leary would be threatened with compulsory quarantine in hotels because they do not exist for anyone in the European Union” , said Minister Byrne.
“So not only would they not be put there, but they would not be threatened for any reason, so I’m very surprised that they are.”
He acknowledged that Ireland was slow compared to other countries in implementing the EU travel program, but added that we are fully respecting the regulation.
“On the digital COVID certificate, this is a law that requires Ireland to implement the digital COVID certificate with six weeks from July 1, we do so within 19 days from July 1,” a- he explained.
“We are lagging behind other countries, no doubt about it, but we are fully in compliance with the COVID digital certificate regulations, it is a legal obligation of the state.
“It is important to stress that the digital COVID certificate is a document indicating whether you are vaccinated, if you are tested, if you have recovered, it is not an entry passport.
“Member states can impose their own restrictions on people entering their country if they wish, for example, this week Germany introduced additional restrictions for people coming from Portugal.
“So the digital COVID certificate doesn’t give you a free pass to Germany from Portugal, for example. “
Until the EU’s digital green certificate is implemented in Ireland, passengers arriving in the country can still use the more traditional means of showing that they are fully vaccinated or have a negative COVID-19 test, such as paper documents, added Minister Fianna Fáil.
“We are controlling our borders in the interest of public health, but we have said that we are opening international travel on July 19 and the COVID digital certificate will facilitate that,” he said.
“Until then, the requirement that you have to test negative to enter Ireland, you can still show that by whatever means people were showing them until last week or you can show your status as a vaccination by means of a paper document.
“We would be fully prepared to comply with the digital COVID certificate on July 19 and it is full compliance with the EU regulation that requires us to do so. “
Dublin Airport. Photo: Sasko Lazarov / RollingNews.ie
Minister Byrne also denied that Ireland’s delay in introducing the ticket would lead to confusion and long queues at airports once it is introduced in two weeks.
Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary Recount The hard shoulder last night: “We had chaos at the airport yesterday – and the chaos suffered by fully vaccinated EU visitors, who are legally entitled to come to Ireland because they are fully vaccinated, pose no threat to the public health.”
Minister Byrne replied: “We are ready for this, we will be open on July 19, we are absolutely obligated to do this under the EU regulation, so we will be ready.
“I don’t predict chaos at airports, I definitely want to see busier airports but I think the digital COVID certificate will cause less confusion at the airport because it will be easy to use the digital COVID certificate because it is delivered. with a QR code in a standardized form.
“I think the potential for chaos at airports is not there, but the government and airport authorities will do absolutely everything possible to make sure that does not happen.
“Travel will open, I don’t think it will open with fanfare, I think it will be a gradual increase in the number of people traveling and this is very welcome, especially for vaccinated people traveling abroad this summer and particularly welcome for airport workers and for all those who depend on this industry which has been hit very hard since the start of this pandemic. “
Main image: Composite photo showing Thomas Byrne, Minister of State for European Affairs, and the queues at Düsseldorf airport. Credit: Leah Farrell / Rollingnews.ie; Henning Kaiser / dpa