Ryanair CEO calls on Eamon Ryan to explain why Ireland was not ready to comply with EU travel cert
"What have you been doing for the last six weeks since the DCC was first announced?"
In an open letter, Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has called on Transport Minister Eamon Ryan to explain why Ireland was not ready to comply with the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC) for travel.
Ireland was the only European Union member state not ready to comply with the travel cert system as it came into effect on Thursday.
According to the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, the reason for Ireland's delay in complying was last month's cyber attack against the HSE.
Meanwhile, the European Commission's website lists Ireland as being "effectively connected" to the system.
In the letter addressed to Ryan, sent on Thursday, O'Leary writes about Ireland not being ready to comply with the certificate: "Please explain why, when we have confirmation from the system provider that it can be switched on immediately by Ireland for our vaccinated citizens."
He also said the "ongoing mismanagement" of air transport by the Irish government is doing "untold damage" to the economy and tourism infrastructure.
"We lag 'Paddy last' behind every other EU country, all of whom have opened up to these EU Covid Certs and are taking advantage of the success of their vaccination programmes," O'Leary said.
"Instead, Ireland continues to be uniquely locked down despite having less than 45 Covid patients in hospital and less than 15 in our ICUs.
"Why have the Irish Govt not switched on the DCC to permit our 1.5m fully vaccinated citizens to travel freely within the EU?"
O'Leary said that due to the government's "ineptitude", Ryanair now has to refuse travel to passengers from all other EU states who are fully vaccinated and in possession of a valid EU Digital Covid Certificate.
He said: "This is discriminatory and unjustified without any medical or public health basis."
The CEO also claimed Ryanair had received reports of Irish passengers arriving into the state with a DCC being "unjustly threatened with mandatory quarantine".
O'Leary said: "Please explain why Irish Borderforce today appear to be completely unaware of what the EU Covid Certificate looks like? What have you been doing for the last six weeks since the DCC was first announced?"
"Minister Ryan, there is no justification for any further delays or restrictions on the return of EU travel for the 1.5m Irish citizens who are fully vaccinated nor for the continued refusal to permit the 200m+ fully vaccinated European citizens to travel freely to Ireland to rebuild our crippled aviation and tourism industry.
"Please confirm by return today that you will finally act to switch on the EU Covid Cert for all of Ireland's (and the EU's) fully vaccinated citizens and allow them to travel freely between Ireland and the EU.
"Since they are all fully vaccinated, they pose no threat or risk to NPHET's 'variant scariant' lockdown narrative."
On Thursday evening, NPHET warned Ireland is at the beginning of a fourth wave of Covid-19 on account of the Delta variant.
Chair of the NPHET Irish Epidemiological Modelling Advisory Group Professor Philip Nolan said in a statement: "We have seen an increase in incidence over the last ten days, raising the concern that we are in the early phase of an increase driven by the Delta variant.
"Incidence is growing at 2% per day, reproduction number is now above 1; estimated at 1.0 to 1.2."
Asked during this evening's Department of Health briefing if Ireland was at the beginning of a fourth wave, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Tony Holohan said: "There's every reason to believe, and that's our belief, that we're facing a significant wave of Delta-driven transmission."
Recently, O'Leary slammed Ryan as “without doubt one of the worst transport ministers we’ve had in our history”