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'Irresistible move' US-based journalist claims 'packed planes' are flying into Ireland for Christmas

"I don't think Covid is going to stop people going, I think on this occasion people probably figure that they want to see family very badly"

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Arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

Arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

Arrivals hall at Dublin Airport

Despite the current advice from Government to avoid all non-essential foreign travel, a well-known US-based journalist has claimed “packed planes” are still coming into Ireland. 

Niall O'Dowd, publisher, told Pat Kenny on Newstalk that he believes people are not heeding the Government advice.

"I believe the planes are packed,” he said. “I think it's an irresistible move for people, going back generations obviously, that the trip home to Ireland at Christmas is very much one that people love to look forward to and undertake.

"I don't think Covid is going to stop people going, I think on this occasion people probably figure that they want to see family very badly.

"Our information is that the planes are pretty full."

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Dublin Airport (Stock)

Dublin Airport (Stock)

Dublin Airport (Stock)

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said last week that people should make their own assessment on coming home for Christmas.

He said: "There could be a whole verity of different reasons as to why they would (come home).

"You could have a parent who's very lonely at home, or you could have not seen someone in a very long time.

"I think it's not up to Government to make those calls, I think it’s right for the people - each individual person - to make the calls."

But Mr O'Dowd said the message hasn't got across – “the message that we're hearing is that people are travelling in large numbers” he claimed, adding that the number has increased in the last couple of weeks.

"It does appear definitely that there will be a lot of people departing America to come home to Ireland for Christmas,” he added.

Cork and Dublin airports have predicted a near 90 per cent slump in Christmas passengers as pandemic restrictions hit festive travel.

Dublin Airport expects just 137,000 people to travel through there this Christmas against, 88 per cent fewer than the 1.2 million people it hosted over the 2019 holiday.

Cork forecasts that numbers will tumble 89 per cent to 13,000 this year from 119,000 last Christmas.

About 127,000 of Dublin’s passengers are travelling to and from Ireland, while about 10,000 people are connecting to flights to other destinations.

“Dublin Airport will be quieter this Christmas than it has been in decades,” said Dublin Airport spokeswoman Siobhán O’Donnell.

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