Mandatory Covid testing at ports now essential

20 December 2020
  • Cabinet should be brought forward
  • Clear guidance on Covid-19 restrictions now needed. 
  • Ramped up testing and tracing capacity essential for coming weeks.

With the government due to introduce a 48 hour travel ban from Britain into Ireland, Labour Transport spokesperson Duncan Smith repeated his long standing call for mandatory Covid-19 testing for visitors arriving at our ports.

Deputy Smith said:
“We need to see more detailed medical and scientific advice on the new strain of Covid-19 circulating in the UK but in the meantime the decision to suspend travel from Britain into Ireland for 48 hours is correct. This though will have a devastating impact on many families who would have been hoping to have loved ones home for Christmas in the coming days.

“If this new strain is so widespread now in the UK then it is highly likely it could already have spread to Ireland but we don’t have testing at our frontiers to catch it.

“What this shows is the urgent need for mandatory Covid-19 testing at our airports and seaports for visitors arriving into Ireland over the coming days and weeks. I’ve called for this policy for many months and it’s common practise in many other places but there seems to be a huge reluctance to roll it out here.

“The Labour Party has called for clear Christmas guidance from the government on Covid-19, but sadly we won’t have a cabinet meeting until Tuesday.

“Families, workers and businesses need certainty on what the rules will be in place over Christmas. They also need the comfort of knowing that we have a ramped up testing and tracing capacity to catch and localise any new cases detected in the coming days.

“Having testing in place at our airports and ferry terminals would give people a further leave of confidence. It must now be delivered.”

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