DIASPORA Minister Colm Brophy has thanked the Irish community across Britain for “protecting themselves and others” by staying away from Ireland during the pandemic.
His statement came as the country published new travel guidelines, requiring any new arrivals from Britain or South Africa to provide a negative pre-departure Covid-19 test in order to be allowed entry to Ireland.
They will also be required to isolate for 14 days.
Non-essential travel is still being discouraged by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), but they have confirmed the new travel rules for any passengers arriving into the country.
It follows a temporary ban on arrivals from Britain and South Africa, which came into effect on December 20 and ended on January 8.
“From January 9 onwards, any passengers arriving into Ireland whose journey originated in Great Britain or South Africa are required to have a negative/not detected result from a pre-departure COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before their arrival in Ireland,” the DFA confirmed.
“These people will also be advised to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in Ireland,” they add.
The strict measures were imposed due to concerns surrounding new, more infectious strains of Covid-19 detected in both countries.
In light of the new rules, Diaspora Minister Colm Brophy said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has caused great hardships for people and affected all aspects of our daily lives.
“One of the features of life in the Irish diaspora in Britain has always been the relative ease of travel home to Ireland and the close people to people ties across these islands.
“During this public health crisis, the Irish diaspora have shown great fortitude and responsibility in protecting themselves and others by not travelling between Ireland and Britain except when essential.
“Their efforts to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect family and friends are hugely appreciated.”
He added: “There are still some difficult weeks and months ahead but the vaccination programmes underway can give us all hope for brighter days before too long.
“The Government remains committed to strengthening and deepening ties with our Irish community abroad and I look forward to building on my virtual engagements with the Irish in Britain with a visit in person during 2021.”
People with a genuine humanitarian emergency who need to travel to Ireland urgently can contact the Irish Embassy for advice and consular assistance. For further information click here.