As Europe Opens Up, Why Is Ireland Locking Down Further?



Ryanair, Europe’s largest low fares airline, today (Wed 27 May) welcomed Spain’s announcement last weekend that all travel restrictions will be lifted from 1 July, allowing Europeans to take family holidays in Spain during July & Aug. This reopening of Spain mirrors similar re-openings recently announced by Italy, Greece, Portugal and France. Germany is expected to remove all travel restrictions later this week. While all of these EU countries are opening up their tourism and removing restrictions, Ireland is going the other way, imposing further restrictions including an ineffective and unpoliceable 2 week quarantine on inbound visitors from the EU.

This quarantine makes no sense when it doesn’t apply to visitors from the UK, which is our EU neighbour with the highest rate of Covid-19 cases and deaths. These further Irish lockdowns make no economic or medical sense when Ireland has one of the better performances of all EU countries in responding to, and defeating, the spread of Covid-19.

The Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford University publishes a weekly table (see attached) which now ranks Ireland with the most stringent Covid lockdown of any of the 27 EU countries, despite having one of the best EU records in combating and defeating Covid-19. Ireland has now more stringent lockdown measures than Spain, France, the UK, and even the USA, which is the country with the worst record on Covid-19.

Ryanair’s Group CEO Michael O’Leary said:

“The Irish Government and the Irish people have done a fantastic job over the last 10 weeks, combating the spread of Covid-19 and defeating this virus. Yesterday was the first day with zero deaths from Covid-19 since early March. This impressive record by our Government and health services is not reflected in our overly stringent lockdown measures. It makes little sense for Ireland to be locking down further at a time when most other EU countries are opening up.

Ryanair is back flying from 1 July, with 1,000 daily low fare flights to Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece and other holiday destinations. All of these countries have removed all visitor restrictions from mid-June or early July. Ireland should now do likewise and remove its ineffective and unnecessary travel quarantine from the EU. 

It is unfair on the Irish people that Ireland is now applying the most stringent lockdown measures (as ranked by the Oxford University School of Government), whereas many other EU countries who have not performed as well in tackling Covid-19 have already removed their lockdown travel restrictions. Ryanair calls on the Irish Government to accelerate our exit from lockdown and scrap their ineffective travel quarantine from the end of June, and we also strongly support the earlier reopening of hairdressing salons to give the Mums of Ireland a much needed break.

Ireland has been one of the best EU countries in tackling and defeating the Covid-19 virus, and our people should not be penalised by having the most stringent EU lockdown restrictions, which are unnecessary given Ireland’s impressive Covid-19 record.”


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