Friday, 05 March, 2021


Home for Christmas: Travel advice 'frustrating' for those with family abroad

A woman walking down street in Glasgow Leo Varadkar advises Irish citizens not to book Christmas flights yet
Bennie Garza | 15 November, 2020, 20:48

It comes after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar faced a backlash last week for asking people to reconsider booking flights home to Ireland for Christmas.

"I think in terms of people booking flights for Christmas to come home - I would advise them not to do it at the moment".

"The amount of northern number plates on cars I see is unreal", he told the Dáil (Irish parliament).

He said that with six weeks until the festive season it was "too soon" to give such advice.

People have been advised not to book flights home to Ireland for Christmas.

He warned that even with a move to a lower level of restrictions in December, there were still "embers of the virus" in the community, "and as we meet again those embers can be fanned".

The Tánaiste admitted: "They didn't come into Ireland, and I'm not saying it's the same".

"We're not in a position at this point to advise people that it's safe to come home for Christmas", Varadkar added.

"That is the experience of Europe and our near neighbours and numerous countries with whom we have a close travel relationship", he said.

"We'd all really love to have some kind of normal Christmas and spend it with families". The positivity rate has fallen from 7pc to 3pc now.

Under the new European Union travel rules, people arriving from "green" countries, where the 14-day incident rate is lower than 25 cases per 100,000 and the test positivity rate below 4pc, do not have to restrict their movements on arrival.

Mary Lou McDonald said worldwide travel will be "problematic" as it is not only dependent on Covid levels here but also the rate of the virus in other countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said that Ireland has also allocated over 140 million euro to the global Covid-19 response.

Calling for an all-island approach to Covid, Ms McDonald said: "We can't have a reservoir of this disease anywhere on the island, if it's on the island it imperils all of us".

"So we have to bear in mind we're not in the same boat as other island nations might be". There are two jurisdictions and we're never going to close the border between North and South.

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