I wish to raise with the Taoiseach his Government’s handling of the issue of international travel. There is absolute public confusion and a lack of public confidence in the Government’s whole approach which has been marked as cack-handed and, frankly, operating on a wing and a prayer. Yesterday the Taoiseach was at odds with the Tánaiste, and the confusion between the two hardly adds to public confidence. Instead of managing the risks that we clearly face, he has now pursued a reckless policy with virtually no checks and balances.
In the small hours of last night the Government published its green list in which it itemised 15 countries and territories for which it has reduced the security profile. It has put itself at odds with the public health advice, which is that there be no international travel, and has at once said to the public that they can travel with reduced risks but has asked that they do not do so. Ordinary people have been thrown under the bus. They face the situation that those who listen to the public health advice and forgo their holidays are potentially out of pocket by thousands of euro. Those who do not heed the public health advice and travel will do so uninsured.
The other problem is that the Taoiseach and Government have not produced a red list of those countries and zones where there is a very high prevalence of this virus. There is a deep concern that people are travelling to this island from those places, and when they arrive here, they are asked simply to fill out a form and restrict their movements. There is no isolation and no proper form of quarantine. Putting a form online is not going to address any of this.
I also remind the Taoiseach that the bottom line outside of holiday season is to get our children back to school, to get people back to education and back to work safely and keep them at work safely. We need to get back to basics and the Government needs to have a proper plan and strategy.
I have two questions. First, what will the Taoiseach do to support those families who listen to the public health advice and do not travel internationally and find themselves out of pocket, in some cases by thousands of euros? Second, what is he doing to protect public health on the island from travel into the country from those places with a very high prevalence of the virus? What proper operable and effective quarantine and safety measures will he put in place?