THE MINISTER for Health has said the government is unable to refund those who recently paid for pre-arrival Covid-19 tests that were then not needed once the requirement for a negative test for entry into the country was delayed by two days.
The government announced at the start of the month that from Friday 3 December, a negative Covid-19 test would be required to enter the country. However, this was postponed by two days to Sunday 5 December.
The announcement of the delay came at a late stage, leading to people booking tests for arrival into the country on 3 and 4 December that were not required.
This week, when asked by Cork South-West TD Christopher O'Sullivan and Cork North-Central TD if the government would refund those who paid for tests for entry on those dates, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said there was no facility in place to pay costs to those who were affected.
"At present, passengers travelling to Ireland require a valid test result (subject to limited exemptions). This requirement has been introduced on a temporary basis as part of our response to emergence of the Omicron variant," the Minister said.
"Travel requirements are kept under regular review based on the evolving international epidemiological situation and as understanding of the Omicron variant develops.
"There is no facility in place to pay costs in the cases referred to. In making regulations to introduce these testing requirements, regard was given to the need for balance between the importance of the measure to protect public health and ensuring travellers have sufficient notice of a legal requirement and sufficient time to arrange testing before travel."
Since the introduction of the rule, every vaccinated person arriving into Ireland must have a negative antigen test completed no longer than 48 hours before arrival.
If unvaccinated or recovered, a negative PCR test result is required no longer than 72 hours before arrival.
The government is also advising anyone arriving from Great Britain to take daily antigen tests for five days.