An online portal has been launched to deal with public queries about EU Digital Covid Certificates.

It is understood a freephone helpline number is inundated with queries from people who want certs for indoor dining.

The Government and Health Service Executive have stressed that this phone line should be used only for those with urgent queries who are travelling in the next ten days.

The regulations state that other documentation, such as the HSE or GP vaccination card, can be used for entering pubs, restaurants or cafes.

The portal will deal with queries, such as incorrect e-mail addresses, which have been delaying people receiving their certs online.

It is expected more staff will be deployed to the helpline next week to deal with a significant backlog of queries.

Apology for helpline

Meanwhile, Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement and eGovernment Ossian Smyth has said it is not acceptable that people are "waiting hours" on the Covid cert helpline.

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Claire Byrne, Minister Smyth said: "Our citizens should not have to wait hours on the phone to get a service from the Government and, in this case, obtaining their medical records from the Department of Health."

Minister Ossian Smyth

"I apologise to everyone who has had to wait. Lots of people are getting ready to go on a foreign trip, which is stressful enough as it is and they're not getting their medical record that they are entitled to," he said.

"That's not acceptable because the intention was that this helpline would be for people who had issues or problems.

"We sent out 2.5 million certs and when you do something 2.5 million times, sometimes there are exceptions."

He said there are currently 3% of people who have not yet received their certificate, adding that there are two main reasons for that.

The first reason is that they moved home or changed email address. Minister Smyth said it’s more likely that the data was not updated or was not sent accurately from where they were vaccinated. It is also likely that it did not make it due to the ransomware attack.

Minister Smyth added that some people have a different name on their passport to the name they use commonly, which has also caused delays.