Ireland ‘out of step’ with rest of Europe on overseas travel, says Ryanair

A key Ryanair executive has called on the government to “get the balance right” between public health and business.

Ireland was the only country “out of step” with the rest of Europe, Eddie Wilson, chief executive of Ryanair Designated Activity Company (DAC), told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.

It comes as public health officials have been doubling down on their opposition to any relaxation of overseas travel restrictions.

Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan said people who have booked overseas trips should not travel at present due to the risk to themselves, families and the wider society.

Mr Wilson said at some stage the country was going to have to get “back to normal”, it was not possible to have restrictions open ended “forever.”

Every other country in Europe has returned to flying in keeping with European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) guidelines, he added.

Ryanair will have 1,000 flights today adhering to ECDC guidelines and the return to the skies is not just for tourism but also for business. Mr Wilson said that the idea that tourists were going to act in an irresponsible way was simply not the case.

The idea that Covid-19 just comes from abroad was not accurate, he said. “People will not lose their heads because they are on holidays. People are going to do it (holiday) sensibly.”

‘Safe to travel’

Dr Jack Lambert, specialist in infectious disease at the Mater hospital, Dublin has said on Morning Ireland that if people observe the appropriate safety guidelines then it is safe to travel.

The government needs to come up with practical solutions, he said.