Irish Ferries and Stena Line have joined forces to call on the Irish government to reopen the Common Travel Area (CTA) as soon as possible. They are also calling for clarity regarding dates so that they can ensure they are ready to from an operational perspective.
Under current regulations, arrivals into Ireland from Britain must show evidence of a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival and must restrict their movements for two weeks or until they receive written confirmation of a negative PCR test taken no less than five days after their arrival.
Those travelling to the UK from Ireland do not have similar testing or quarantine requirements.
Paul Grant, Trade Director for the Irish Sea, at Stena Line said: “COVID-19 infections are now at low levels and vaccination levels are increasing significantly in both countries. In the UK for example 66 per cent of adults have now received their first dose and 30 per cent have had both, so there is now a real need to focus on solving some of the economic impacts of the pandemic, and an obvious starting point are the hard-hit tourist, hospitality and travel sectors. With the restoring of travel between the islands of Ireland and Britain, we can start to rebuild these sectors locally in advance of the full resumption of international travel, which may take more time to agree and deliver.”
Andrew Sheen, Managing Director for Irish Ferries commented: “The ferry industry has played a key role in helping to keep vital food and medical supply lines open during the height of the pandemic. With the current UK infection rate of 48 cases per 100,000 population comparable to the lowest in Europe, we need to acknowledge the shared land border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and eliminate the discrepancies and loopholes on travel restrictions on the island. Irish Ferries and Stena Line welcome the Tánaiste’s recent comments on the possibility of restoring the CTA in advance of the full resumption of international travel and would urge the Irish Government to prioritise its implementation.”