Taoiseach Micheál Martin says people need to stop going on holidays 1 month ago

Taoiseach Micheál Martin says people need to stop going on holidays

"That needs to stop."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Irish people who are travelling abroad for holidays during the Covid-19 pandemic need to stop.

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Martin was speaking in the Dáil as he acknowledged the “very sad” figure of 3,000 deaths from Covid-19 being exceeded in Ireland.

"Quite a significant number of people travelling from Ireland are travelling on holidays. That needs to stop," he said.

He added: “Anybody who travels abroad is breaching Level 5 rules, and that's the facts. They’re in breach of Level 5 rules, and that carries with it the consequences.”

Martin said that those caught travelling to the airport or port for non-essential reasons will receive a fixed fine of €500.

He also told the Dáil new measures on mandatory quarantine will be implemented quickly, although opposition argued the new measures are insufficient.

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It comes after RTÉ Prime Time footage shocked the public on Tuesday night with images of Irish holidaymakers returning to Dublin Airport from Lanzarote.

The footage caused Labour leader Alan Kelly to question whether the government's restrictions go far enough.

"Is it really credible to think that a flight load of people who actually made the decision to go out to Lanzarote are actually going to come home and quarantine in their houses?" Kelly asked.

Meanwhile, earlier on Wednesday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there would be a very gradual easing of restrictions from 5 March, but cautioned it would only happen if case numbers of Covid-19 are low.

"What’s anticipated is that when it comes to 5 March, if we have cases low, if we have the ICUs under a lot less pressure, then we will be able to ease some restrictions, but it will be a very gradual easing of restrictions," he said.

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"More like what you saw after the first wave than maybe a jump from Level 5 to 3, which is what we would have done in December."