The Minister for Transport has told the Dáil that the Cabinet will make a decision next Tuesday on how it plans to implement the new EU traffic light system governing inter-country travel.

But speaking this afternoon, Eamon Ryan said it is likely to be a month or two before it is in place.

Last week, EU countries agreed to adopt the traffic light system for tourism travel during the Covid-19 pandemic.

It aims to end a confusing patchwork of restrictions across Europe and bring back free movement of people, one of the key principles of the EU.

Mr Ryan said it is his intention to seek Government support to introduce a testing regime that would allow passengers coming into the country to waive the restriction of movement rules that apply at the current time.

Having a testing regime will address a lot of the difficulties and hopefully give people the confidence to fly or to know that it is safe, he said.

However, he said it is likely to be a month or two before the new system is in place as it will not be easy.

The Minister said the Government would seek to ensure an appropriate balance between travel and protecting public health.

But the goal is to give airlines and the travelling public certainty as to what they need to do to be able to travel.

He said we need to create the conditions that can allow a return to Ryanair flights to Cork and Shannon airports.

The airline announced today that it will close the two regional bases for the winter. 

Mr Ryan said as an island, nation Ireland is particularly dependent on connectivity.

Aviation plays a critical role in our economy and Cork and Shannon are key players in delivering high quality international connectivity in their regions.

He said the Government recognises this and is committed to ensuring both airports are well positioned to aid our recovery and play their part in maintaining connectivity into the future.

Traffic light system welcomed as positive first step to allow international travel