Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government, Darragh O’Brien, has said there is a need to take a stricter approach to international visitors arriving into Ireland onboard passenger ferries in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Deputy O'Brien said: “The emergence of COVID-19 has meant that we have all had to make important sacrifices, both at home and at work. This bank holiday weekend, people are being instructed to stay in their homes and avoid travel even within Ireland to see family or for leisure.
“This is fair, given the severity of this virus but these rules are being flouted by many international visitors to Ireland. In 2019, an average of 67,000 people arrives into Ireland each month by sea. Public health will be hugely impacted if even a share of that figure materializes in the coming month.”
“Today, seven ships have come into Dublin Port that have the capacity to carry passengers. There is no screening upon entry into Ireland for passengers on these ships, nor are there any entry restrictions. This is at a time when domestic residents are prevented from taking all but essential journeys.
“We must facilitate international freight, but we should be taking measures to prevent people coming to Ireland for the purposes of tourism. There are anecdotal reports of many cars with foreign registration plates disembarking from ferries and travelling to popular holiday destinations. The Gardai are out on the roads preventing people from going to holiday homes, but international visitors are free to get a ferry into any of our ports. It is totally wrong and is causing anguish in communities around the country, particularly in affected areas.
“Has the government had any engagement with ferry operators or with their government counterparts in places such as the UK and France? Without such restrictions, the efforts of our own citizens to forego their own holidays and freedoms will come to nothing,” concluded Deputy O’Brien.