Good signs for international travel this summer, says Minister

Good signs for international travel this summer, says Minister

Muireann Duffy

Minister for European Affairs Thomas Byrne has said he is optimistic that Irish people will be able to travel abroad this summer if the EU's digital green certificate initiative is established.

Speaking on Virgin Media One’s Ireland AM, Mr Byrne said: "I am very optimistic, and I can tell you, you will be able to travel at some point, but I wouldn't be booking something yet that's non-refundable."

He added the situation surrounding Covid-19 is still uncertain, and there is still a risk attached to travelling.

"This certificate isn't going to guarantee you will not catch Covid when you are abroad, which will present a pretty difficult situation for you, but we will be able to travel, the only question is when."

The Minister said the scheme is currently being negotiated by EU officials, but should be in place by June.

The scheme would mean EU citizens would be able to receive a digital green certificate allowing them to travel to other EU member states signed up to the plan.

People will be eligible for a certificate if they have been fully vaccinated, have recently recovered from the virus, or they can provide a recent negative test result prior to travel.

For families hoping to go abroad this summer, Mr Byrne said the requirement for children to present a negative PCR test result is different in individual member states, with some not requiring a test if the child is under 12, while others require all children over two to be tested.

Mr Byrne said the EU is mindful of the cost of such tests to allow young children to travel with their families, given they will not be vaccinated against Covid-19.

However, the Minister stressed that if the country managed to keep our rate of Covid-19 low, we would be in a better position to travel abroad this summer.

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