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Consular flights being arranged for Irish residents stranded in Britain

The flights will be accessible to Irish residents and Ireland-bound passengers transiting through British airports who had become stranded.

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Coronavirus information at a Ryanair check in desk at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Coronavirus information at a Ryanair check in desk at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

Coronavirus information at a Ryanair check in desk at Dublin airport (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Irish Government has announced consular flights are being arranged for Irish residents stranded in Britain following the ban on flights into Ireland.

The Republic imposed a ban on travel from Britain to Ireland for 48 hours from midnight on Sunday, after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas due to the spread of a new variant of the virus.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney and Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said there would be at least two consular flights from Britain on Tuesday.

The flights will be accessible to Irish residents and Ireland-bound passengers transiting through British airports who had become stranded.

But they will not be available to Irish people who are living in Britain and had planned on going home for Christmas.

At least one flight will depart from London while the departure location of the other flight has yet to be determined.

The flights will be operated by Irish airlines.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it will depend on the demand from those who contact its assistance line.

A statement read: “There will be no access to people living in Great Britain who were planning short trips to Ireland for Christmas.

“This is because of the ongoing travel ban due to public health concerns.”

“It is essential that anyone eligible to travel on the consular flights identifies themselves to the Department of Foreign Affairs, demonstrates their entitlement under the criteria, and registers to be included on the flight by calling the dedicated assistance line +353 1 6131700.

“It is not possible to book these flights through any other route.”

Ferry access is also being arranged for Irish residents who have been stranded in their vehicles after taking short trips to Britain.

These ferry journeys cannot be booked directly and those eligible to travel must also contact the same assistance line.

At present ferry services are only allowed for freight reasons.

Ireland’s chief medical officer, Dr Tony Holohan, said the public health advice remained that people should avoid all non-essential travel.

Asked about his message to people who had arrived in Ireland from the UK on Sunday, Dr Holohan said: “We have advised all along that we need to all avoid non-essential travel.

“There will be some people involved in travel where that travel is essential. To stay away from making judgments and people’s behaviours and instead focus on what people can do to behave responsibly.”

He added that those who had arrived in Ireland in the past 14 days, or who arrive in Ireland from the UK, should self-isolate and get tested, ideally on day five, and they should still self-isolate for 14 days.

Cabinet ministers are due to decide on Tuesday whether to extend the ban on travel from Britain to Ireland.

The Transport Minister said the ban was “unlikely” to be lifted before Christmas.

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, the Deputy First Minister has called for a meeting of the Stormont Executive to discuss a potential travel ban from Britain.

Michelle O’Neill said there was “no time to lose” in agreeing a travel ban.

Her comments came as First Minister Arlene Foster warned that closing Northern Ireland to travellers from the rest of the UK would have serious ramifications.

The Executive is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss its pandemic response.

Online Editors


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