Independent TD for Laois-Offaly Carol Nolan has said that concerns around a possible influx of tourists coming in through the country’s ports and airports must be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Deputy Nolan said she had written to both the Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice, requesting that all necessary preventative measures are put in place to safeguard against a heightened risk of Covid-19 infections emerging from within the tourist population.
“I am very aware that people have genuine and substantial fears around this issue. I also know that people are sharing information around dangers arising from ships that have the capacity to carry passengers entering Dublin Port and Rosslare Port.”
“If this kind of activity can be substantiated, then it is absolutely critical for government to ramp up measures to close off those access points,” she said.
“We can allow exemptions for those involved with maintaining food security and supply or essential health services. There might also be space for permitting a strictly limited point of entry for those who need to attend funerals of immediate family,” she explained.
The Offaly TD said that a wide-ranging and enhanced customs infrastructure was initially put in place to deal with post-Brexit Customs checks at Rosslare Europort.
“This has involved Revenue appointing over 400 additional staff nationally to customs and related roles for Brexit, with 30 of these additional 400 staff assigned to Rosslare Europort,” she said.
“Surely those staff and this kind of customs check infrastructure can be re-purposed to ensure that people entering the state through our ports are here for reasons of absolute necessity and not for tourism reasons.”
Deputy Nolan called for the same system to be replicated at our airports.
“It seems entirely unreasonable for government to be demanding that every citizen stay within a 2k zone but then do nothing in terms of allowing tourists to travel here from hundreds, if not thousands of miles away,” she said.