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'Will be lawful' Tanaiste Leo Varadkar backs vaccine ID pass saying it could bring an end to lockdowns

'Now we have this option to use a corona pass… and potentially never having to lock down again'

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar: 'We can use those three weeks to develop plans for a corona pass'

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar: 'We can use those three weeks to develop plans for a corona pass'

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar: 'We can use those three weeks to develop plans for a corona pass'

The Tánaiste has claimed a new 'corona-pass' potentially means “never having to lock down again." 

Leo Varadkar was speaking this morning in relation to a controversial proposal to only allow fully vaccinated people or those who've recovered from Covid-19 to dine indoors.

He told Newstalk Breakfast that the only options available to the Government were to develop a "corona-pass" or keep indoor activities closed until the country reaches herd immunity.

Mr Varadkar and other ministers are meeting with the hospitality industry later today, following the Cabinet decision to delay reopening by at least two weeks.

“We can use those three weeks to develop plans for a corona pass, which let’s not forget may pave the way for the reopening of not just indoor hospitality but indoor sports and live events, even if there is a Delta wave.

“That’s one of the things that maybe isn’t fully understood about the decision and advice from yesterday. Option one is to not reopen indoors until we have herd immunity - and who really knows when that will be.

"We’d hope it would be September, but maybe not.

“Now we have this option to use a corona pass… and potentially never having to lock down again."

Mr Varadkar said everyone knew in the last week or so that the idea of a "delay of two or three weeks was being suggested".

But he added that the Government didn't know how stark NPHET's models about a potential surge of the Delta variant would be until they saw them on Monday.

He said: “We asked them to do the modelling quickly to get the advice to us quickly so we could make a decision earlier than planned.

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"That was part of the reason why I think it was so rushed - they’re not entirely to blame for that. I don’t think the result would be different."

He added that he's as "disappointed as everyone" that reopening can't go ahead as planned on July 5.

Speaking earlier, the Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall said the Government needs to go "back to the drawing board" and work out an alternative to the proposals around indoor dining,

Labour leader Alan Kelly described it as "absolutely bananas", while pub and restaurant owners have claimed it will be unworkable.

Deputy Shortall told Newstalk Breakfast she really can't see how the proposed 'vaccine passport' scheme is going to work.

She said: “Essentially, what it’s doing is discriminating against younger people who haven’t had the opportunity to be vaccinated yet.

“The Government is talking about a situation where people who are unvaccinated, working in hospitality, are OK to work in hospitality but not OK to actually avail of the hospitality.

“I think it’s really discriminatory, and also completely unfair to expect businesspeople who are running restaurants and pubs to check with people at their door what their health status is.

“That’s not on - it’s not acceptable for people to be doing that."

Deputy Shortall said ministers now need to sit down with the hospitality industry and work out a plan to "mitigate the risks" of the virus.

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