Irish tourism the ‘laughing stock’ of Europe as EU’s cert Covid travel system comes into force

Irish tourism is “huge” and the “laughing stock” of the EU, Ryanair said.

In a scathing statement, the airline accused the government of ‘continued mismanagement’ of the coronavirus crisis and called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to explain why Ireland is ‘the last Paddy’ when it comes to issue EU Covid digital certificates.

Travelers will be able to use the certificates, which will provide proof that the holder has been fully vaccinated against, recently tested negative or recently recovered from Covid-19, to travel freely within the EU.

But while the majority of EU citizens have access to certificates today, Irish adults will not be able to avail themselves of these so-called ‘Covid passports’ until July 19.

“Why can fully vaccinated EU citizens have freedom of movement as Irish citizens continue to be locked in by Nphet’s absurd caution over a Delta variant in the UK?”

The Irish government is causing “untold damage” to the economy and tourism infrastructure with a reopening plan that is “way behind” any other country in Europe, said Ryanair CEO Eddie Wilson.

“With more than 1.5 million Irish adults fully vaccinated, fewer than 45 Covid patients in hospital and fewer than 15 in intensive care, there is no justification for further delays.”

Mr Wilson said Ireland continues to be an outlier in Europe and questioned why the state is “behind at every turn” to our European counterparts.

“Rapid antigen tests are easily accepted across Europe, making it easier for families to travel this summer, but Nphet continues to ignore this data and rejects their use without reasonable justification,” he added.

Mr Wilson said Ryanair called on the government to proceed “immediately” with the EU’s Covid digital certificate and allow the more than 1.5 million fully vaccinated Irish adults to travel freely.

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