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Only 15 countries on quarantine-free holiday 'green list'

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People with trips booked outside the EU are likely to be disappointed by the Government’s ‘green list’

People with trips booked outside the EU are likely to be disappointed by the Government’s ‘green list’

People with trips booked outside the EU are likely to be disappointed by the Government’s ‘green list’

Only 15 nations are included on the 'green list' of countries exempt from quarantine restrictions.

The Cabinet met last night to sign off on the final list.

However, the easing of restrictions will apply only to certain countries, mostly within the EU.

The news will be a blow for people with holidays booked outside of Europe.

The list includes Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino.

These countries have similar rates of Covid-19 to Ireland.

Passengers arriving here from these countries will be exempt from rules requiring them to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

But the Government has said people living here will still be advised against travelling to these destinations.

However, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar yesterday said the 'green list' of countries deemed safe for international travel should be ditched if people living in Ireland are advised against flying to destinations exempt from quarantine.

He issued a statement criticising "mixed messages" around the Government's plans to ease travel restrictions.

Mr Varadkar's spokesperson said the Tanaiste "believes strongly that it's wrong to send out mixed messages about international travel".

"The Tanaiste believes there should be a green list, as was previously agreed by Government.

"But if the travel advice for countries on the green list isn't different to advice for other countries, then we would be better off not having a green list at all."

Mr Varadkar's intervention prompted Labour leader Alan Kelly to tell Taoiseach Micheal Martin in the Dail: "I'm beginning to wonder who's the Taoiseach."

Mr Martin's spokesperson said he would not be commenting as the matter was up for discussion at Cabinet.

Under Mr Varadkar's government, it was proposed that so-called 'air bridges' be created between Ireland and countries designated safe for travel on the green list.

Meanwhile, discount meals and hotel breaks will be available until the start of the next summer season under plans being considered for the Government's July stimulus package.

Rebate

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin insisted any measures she introduces for the sector should be extended until next spring.

"I would be looking at sustaining the sector and keeping the sector going through to the start of the 2021 tourism season - it could be March or April," she said.

This includes plans for a tax rebate scheme for hotel and restaurant bills.

The staycation subsidy will not be applied to alcohol.