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‘Paddy last’ Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary accuses Government of causing 'untold damage' to Irish tourism

In an open letter to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, Mr O’Leary asked him to explain why Ireland is lagging behind every other EU country

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Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary has accused the government of doing “untold damage” to the economy and tourism industry by being the only European Union member state that isn’t ready to implement the EU Digital Covid Certificate (DCC).

The certificate – aimed at facilitating easier travel between member states – was introduced in all member states except Ireland yesterday. It won’t come into effect in Ireland until July 19.

In an open letter to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan, Mr O’Leary asked him to explain why Ireland is lagging other member states.

“This ongoing mismanagement of air transport by the Irish government is doing untold damage to our economy and tourism infrastructure as 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,” Mr O’Leary told Mr Ryan in the letter.

“Instead, Ireland continues to be uniquely locked down despite having less than 45 Covid patients in hospital and less than 15 in our ICUs [Intensive Care Units],” he added.

The DCC is designed to enable anyone who has been vaccinated against Covid, who has recovered from it, or who has recently tested negative, to travel more freely between member states. But it’s still up to individual countries to determine how to treat people in terms of quarantine measures and testing upon arrival.

Mr O’Leary insisted that there is “no justification” for any further delays or restrictions on the return of EU travel for the 1.5 million people in Ireland who are fully vaccinated.

He said there was also no reason why the 200 million-plus EU citizens that are fully vaccinated should not be able to travel freely to Ireland to “rebuild our crippled aviation and tourism industry”.

Mr O’Leary accused NPHET of engaging in a “variant scariant lockdown narrative”.

The outspoke aviation chief said Ryanair has received reports of Irish passengers arriving here with a DCC, having been fully vaccinated, and being “unjustly threatened with mandatory quarantine”.

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