Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has called on the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan to “get the finger out” and announce a date for the resumption of international travel, adding the airline is moving planes out of Ireland due to the ongoing restrictions.
Mr O’Leary told Newstalk Breakfast that Irish people were “ignoring the Government” and booking flights to Spain and Portugal from the middle of June.
He said it was the Government’s job to act on behalf of everyone, including the travel and tourism industries, and not to "keep deferring" to the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet).
Ryanair was moving planes out of Ireland, he added: “I don’t need Ireland. We can move to the UK.”
Mandatory hotel quarantine had been “completely useless” Mr O'Leary said, as variants had still entered the country. He also stated Mr Ryan was “without doubt one of the worst Ministers for Transport ever”.
Common Travel Area
People from the UK should be allowed to travel to Ireland, Mr O'Leary said, as their country was already 80 per cent vaccinated, and they could already come over the Border.
EU arrivals should also be allowed from July 1st, he added, as 80 per cent will be vaccinated by then, a rate he said Ireland will achieve by the end of June. However, officials have said Ireland is on target to offer a first dose of the vaccine to approximately 80 per cent of eligible adults by the end of June. This does not mean 80 per cent will be vaccinated by that date, as the jabs may not have been administered yet, and also, people receiving the Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca shots will still have to receive a second dose before they are fully vaccinated.
Mr O'Leary predicted if visitors from Europe were not allowed by the end of June, the Irish tourism industry would be on its knees.
He said there has been a 10 point recovery plan for the aviation industry on the Mr Ryan's desk since last July, but nothing had been done. “Eamon Ryan is a nice man, but he is ineffective,” he added.
Mr O'Leary summarised that overall, Ireland had overreacted to the Covid crisis, and the real question now was when would an effort be made to save the tourism industry.