The majority of the 110,930 passengers who passed through Dublin Airport in January were travelling for non-essential reasons, new figures show.
The Irish Examiner reports that some 60 per cent of those who passed through the airport did so for non-essential reasons, as travel is restricted in Ireland amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Just 39 per cent of travellers declared an essential purpose — as defined by the EU recommendation 2020/1475 — on their passenger locator form in January.
According to statistics from the Department of Transport, Dublin Airport accounted for the bulk of air travel into the Republic, with fewer than 2,000 and 1,000 passengers passing through Cork and Shannon airports respectively.
The most popular flights were recorded as arriving from Poland, France, the UK, and the Netherlands. It is assumed that a large portion of these arrivals were residents returning to Ireland after visiting family over the Christmas period.
Although a negative PCR test for Covid-19 has been required for all arrivals into the country since January 16th, almost 64,000 people arrived in Dublin before this date.
Following a surge of Covid-19 infection experienced in Ireland over the festive period, the Government has sought to introduce new restrictions and regulations to discourage non-essential travel.
All those arriving into the Republic are now legally required to quarantine for 14 days, under new regulations signed by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly this week.
This quarantine period can be exited early with a negative PCR test for the virus on Day 5.
Those found in non-compliance may now face a fine of up to €2,500 or six months in prison.
The new travel measures introduced by Government have been criticised by some Opposition politicians and health experts, amid calls for mandatory quarantine to take place in designated State-monitored facilities.