Tánaiste: Move to Level 3 would still rule out inter-county travel 

Tánaiste: Move to Level 3 would still rule out inter-county travel 
There is no consideration of a north-south travel ban, the Tánaiste has told the Dáil.

Leo Varadkar had suggested that movement between the two jurisdictions could be restricted over Christmas due to the ongoing issues in the North in tackling Covid-19.

However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin poured cold water on that idea.

Speaking today, Mr Varadkar said: “There are no discussions of a ban on a north-south travel.

“It’s not under consideration, not being discussed, period.”

Mr Varadkar said that the plan to move to Level 3 would still rule inter-county travel out.

“As we move from Level 5 to Level 3, which we hope to do next week, inter-county travel will still be restricted and will only be allowed for work, school and essential purposes like caring for an elderly relative.

“So that means inter-county travel, including cross border travel for shopping or visiting friends and relatives will not be allowed.

“We do hope to be in a position to advise people that they can travel between counties including Northern Ireland to visit friends and relatives closer to Christmas but that will depend on the epidemiological data.”

Mr Varadkar said that an advert for a tour company in the North, which offered seats on a bus from Derry to Dundrum Town Centre for a shopping trip, would run counter to the guidance. The trip has since been cancelled after being raised in the Dáil by local TD Fine Gael’s Neale Richmond.

Mr Richmond said he had been shocked to see the ads.

“Tour companies advertising shopping tours are operating contrary to all the public health restrictions currently in place and against the spirit of any possible lifting of those restrictions.

“It is staggering to think that any tour operator felt this was a good idea. Moving a large amount of people from one part of the island to another at this point is quite simply madness.”

A spokesperson for Dundrum Town Centre said that its priority was safety.

“Trips such as the one referenced are currently not in-line with Government guidance, nor are they affiliated with the centre.”

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