Every single Irish MEP, including Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan and Sinn Féin’s Chris MacManus, voted in favour of covid passports in the European Parliament, except for Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, who voted against.
The vote passed overwhelmingly by 540 votes to 119 (with 31 abstentions), meaning the European Parliament has now approved plans for the so-called “green” travel certificate.
This will be a digital pass which, if implemented, will show whether someone has been vaccinated, recently tested negative to covid, or recovered from the virus, and may be required before one can engage in international travel.
European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, says that this is a “key step forward towards free and safe travel this summer.”
Celebrating the news, Fine Gael MEP Deirdre Clune said: “The plan is that this certificate will only be used for travel and only for the duration of the pandemic in order to ensure people are protected from covid-19. It can help to facilitate people as they move and travel around Europe.
“The EU covid-19 Cert makes sense. It would allow people with the certificate to travel freely and safely across Europe. What is vital now is that Europe works together on making sure that the Cert is developed as quickly as possible and in the most effective way,” said Clune, who is a member of the EU Parliament’s Public Health Committee.
“The priority for all Member States, including Ireland, is ensuring that their citizens are safe and protected from covid-19, and this Cert can help achieve that as economies and borders begin to open up again.
“The European Parliament belives that Covid testing could be free of charge in some cases, especially for front line workers and those who may not be able to afford a test.
“We now have over one million people in Ireland who have received a vaccine and the vaccination teams and GPs around the country are doing tremendous work. We now have four vaccines approved for use in Ireland and we are moving in the right direction.”
Now it will be up to individual member states to implement the digital green certificate if they so choose.