Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has described the government’s proposal to announce a ‘green list’ of countries deemed safe to travel to on July 20th, while retaining its current advice against all non-essential foreign travel as “contradictory, sowing confusion and all over the place”.

Teachta Crowe said the current policy is “the worst of all worlds”, serving neither the aviation industry, the travel and tourism industry, prospective travellers or the general public.

Teachta Crowe said:

“Most people have been very disciplined in their adherence to public health advice relating to foreign travel and this has come at considerable expense. Flights and holidays booked well in advance have, in the majority of cases, been forgone, with thousands of euros lost to individuals and families.

“It appears now that a further deadline will come and go without a coherent plan for foreign travel. The suggestion that a ‘green list’ will be published on July 20th, but advice against all non-essential foreign travel will remain in place makes absolutely no sense. This approach will only serve to extend the contradictory and confused messages that people have had to live with for the last two months. It is completely unacceptable and a policy that is quite simply all over the place.

“There needs to be a graduated response to the re-opening of foreign travel and has to be subject to public health advice. In addition to a ‘green list’, there should be a ‘red list’ published, and that a comprehensive regime of airport checks and controls should be in place, reflective of the COVID-19 profile of the country of departure.

“Furthermore, protections must be put in place for consumers who have holidays booked to areas where travel is advised against; including those areas that may be re-categorised as the virus profile changes.

“Leaving it up to the goodwill of airlines is not acceptable, given the obstacles and delaying tactics they have adopted and how they treat consumers who are trying to get information on their legal entitlements or, god forbid, refunds.

“People should be entitled to refunds from their airlines or travel insurance companies if public health advice changes and they are no longer advised to travel to a certain country due to COVID-19. The current government policy on travel is all over the place, is contradictory, and sends out different messages to different sectors of the industry.”