Fianna Fáil MEP, Billy Kelleher has said that he is deeply concerned that the EU Green Digital Certification will not be of any real use if the Government continues to insist on the mandatory quarantining of fully vaccinated visitors to Ireland.

“At present, there are four EU member states on the list for Mandatory Hotel Quarantining. If Ireland’s interpretation of the Digital Green Certificate does not give a waiver to those who are fully vaccinated, we will be defeating the actual purpose of the certificate.

“I accept that variants are a major concern for Ireland. We need to be vigilant and put in place robust systems to stop new ones entering our country and to test and trace cases, but Ireland is an outlier right now, in how it is dealing with them.

“Moreover, we need to find a way of working with other countries, countries with trusted health-care systems, to ensure that there is mutual recognition of vaccinations.

“I am aware of one Irish doctor on the East coast of the United States, who has been fully vaccinated, and who is due to return to Ireland to take up a consultant role in July who is more than likely going to have to stay in a hotel for at least 10-12 days. This is just bananas if I am being honest.

“For the last number of months, we have been told that vaccinations are our way out of this nightmare. For most people, being able to travel and return to Ireland without quarantining in a hotel is a basic condition of the pandemic being over.

“I fully support the Government in doing what’s needed to protect our country and our people, but we live in a globalised, international world. Attempting to shut off Ireland to everyone and to every risk is simply not possible or tenable,” concluded Kelleher.