Ryanair Condemns Government / NPHET Nonsense On New Air Travel Policy

01 Dec 2021

Ryanair, Europe’s largest airline, today (Tues 30th Nov) condemned the latest gobbledygook travel advice issued by NPHET to Govt, and criticised the Govt for adopting this “NPHET nonsense”. Ryanair pointed out that intra-EU air travel has taken place safely since 1 July thanks to the EU Digital Covid Cert (DCC) with all passengers providing either proof of vaccination (the DCC) or a negative PCR test.

The latest travel advice from NPHET/Government is nonsense, which has been imposed without consultation with the airlines, and without any explanation as to how this gobbledygook is to be monitored or controlled either by the airlines or Irish Border Control.

Ryanair today asked the following questions:

  1. Why does a vaccinated EU citizen need a negative antigen or PCR test before arriving in Ireland?
  2. When NPHET and the CMO have opposed antigen tests for 18 months why are they now required, especially in the case of vaccinated passengers?
  3. When over 90% of Irish adults are vaccinated, why do they now have to produce a negative antigen test instead of vax certification to travel out & home to Ireland?
  4. How are the airlines or Border Force to determine what a “professionally done” antigen test looks like if it is in Polish, Croatian, Slovakian, or any other foreign language? What steps have NPHET taken to ensure that these letters are not fake or counterfeit?
  5. How effective is a negative antigen test if taken within 48 hours prior to arrival in Ireland?
  6. Neither the CMO or Govt have defined what a “professionally done” antigen test is or looks like. How are airlines of Border Force supposed to know what “professionally done” means?
  7. Why are vax passengers arriving from the UK now required to provide negative antigen tests, yet non-vaccinated people can travel across the Northern Ireland border without vaccinations or any such antigen/PCR tests? This is yet another NPHET “travel policy” farce.

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary said:

We condemn this latest NPHET/Govt gobbledygook for what it is, ineffective and inappropriate gobbledygook. When EU passengers have, for the last 6 months, been travelling safely with the benefit of the EU DCC or negative PCR’s, what medical or health benefit is to be derived by asking these passengers to now produce negative antigen tests, when both NPHET and the CMO have been opposed to antigen tests for 18 months? We note that neither the CMO nor the Govt have defined what a “professionally done” antigen test means, or look like. How are airline or Border Control staff supposed to understand what a professionally done antigen test is, or looks like, when neither the CMO nor the Govt have even defined it.

As an Island on the periphery of Europe, Ireland needs simple, but effective health measures for international travel. Today’s gobbledygook from NPHET/Govt is the opposite of that. We now have different rules for vax passengers travelling here from Europe, who now have to produce an undefined negative antigen test, or better still, they can fly into Belfast, and travel across the border without any vaccine or antigen test whatsoever. This is the latest example of NPHET and the CMO (the people who originally opposed face masks, track & tracing, and antigen testing) making it up as they go along when both the European Union and the ECDC have already introduced a successful EU Vax Cert, which has allowed safe international intra-EU air travel for the past 6 months.

If this Govt had any spine or leadership, it would ignore NPHET’s nonsense advice on travel. There is no medical or health benefit to be gained by requiring vaccinated EU citizens to provide negative antigen or PCR tests prior to their arrival in Ireland. At a time when over 90% of Ireland’s adults are fully vaccinated, these confusing new regulations requiring unexplained “professionally done” antigen tests provide no additional medical or health benefit, but are yet another way for NPHET and the Govt to restrict air travel on and off an Island on the periphery of Europe.

Ryanair calls on the Government to abandon this latest NPHET gobbledygook and return to a simple, and readily understood system, followed by most of the rest of the EU, which protects free movement of EU citizens, subject only to production of an EU DCC or a negative PCR test.”