Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (429)

Bernard Durkan


429. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the degree to which he and his Department have engaged with bodies other than his Department with a view to providing travel for the Christmas period while keeping in mind best practice in terms of social distancing, sanitising, rapid-testing and mask wearing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38703/20]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

As the Deputy will be aware, my Department publishes Travel Advice for over 200 countries to provide an objective assessment of the risks individuals could face if travelling overseas, with a view to helping them to make informed decisions for themselves. It is based on consultation with our Embassies and Consulates on the ground, the relevant local authorities in each country and our international partners, together with our domestic partners where appropriate. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the priority of protecting public health, we have worked particularly closely with the Department of Health and the HSE.

The EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to the restriction of free movement in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was adopted by Europe Ministers on 13 October. The Government decided to implement this 'traffic lights' approach in Ireland. The implementation of the approach, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA (+ UK), involves a number of Government Departments, including the Department of Health and the Department of Transport.

Requirements including public health guidelines for those travelling into the State are of course a matter for other Departments. Any decisions around advice on international travel over the Christmas period are for decision by the Government.