Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (268)

Neale Richmond


268. Deputy Neale Richmond asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the engagement he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on new plans to require a negative PCR test taken 72 hours prior to departure; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2588/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

As the Deputy is aware, there are now new pre-departure testing requirements for all passengers travelling to Ireland. Effective from 16 January 2021, all passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have a negative/‘not detected’ result from a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test carried out no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.

This does not apply to travel from Northern Ireland and there continue to be no specific restrictions on cross border travel.

There is regular and ongoing North-South contact and cooperation on the island in response to COVID-19 at both operational and political level. As public health measures, including in relation to inward travel requirements, are under constant review in both jurisdictions, it is essential to maintain these strong North-South collaborative arrangements.

The Government is therefore working in close contact and cooperation with the British Government and the Northern Ireland Executive, with the active involvement of health administrations in both jurisdictions, including through regular conference calls and close contact between our respective Chief Medical Officers.

In recent weeks, in view of fast-moving developments in both jurisdictions, contacts have taken place with counterparts in Northern Ireland and Great Britain, to discuss measures in place, including in relation to travel and pre-departure testing requirements.

In the period ahead, these contacts will continue to exchange views to foster commonality in their approach, where possible.