‘People who may like to take a summer holiday in August, people who would like to see their relatives this Christmas that they didn’t see last Christmas, that would probably be off the agenda’
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the Government has not ruled out mandatory quarantine for every person flying into Ireland for the next year.
However he warned if this was to happen, people would not be able to go on summer holidays abroad or see loved ones next Christmas.
He said if it is brought in it “would probably be for a year” and would only be fully effective if Northern Ireland did the same.
Speaking on RTÉ One’s Claire Byrne Live, the Tánaiste said that if mandatory quarantine was brought in it would be difficult to reverse.
"For us to do it on our own it would not be fully effective, as the Republic of Ireland, it would not be fully effective because of the border.
“It would be like soup in a sieve, it would slow it down but wouldn't be fully effective. If we did it it would probably be for a year.”
Mr Varadkar added that if it was put in place people would not be able to go on a summer holiday or see their loved ones this Christmas.
He said: “I think once you take a very dramatic public health care matter like that it's hard to reverse and I don't think we would reverse until everyone is vaccinated and then heading into winter you wouldn’t want to open flights before Christmas.
"People who may like to take a summer holiday in August, people who would like to see their relatives this Christmas that they didn’t see last Christmas, that would probably be off the agenda.”
He added that there are many layers to put in place mandatory quarantine, and said only a certain number of people can be let in, so current essential reasons would no longer be deemed essential.
"Speaking to my New Zealand counterpart there is only so much you can do,” the Tánaiste said.
"You can only let about 500 or 600 people in a day. So that would mean that some travel that we deem essential would not be permitted.
“People going to London for an interview, people who are travelling for education, people who want to see a dying relative, we wouldn't be able to guarantee that that travel is possible.
“So, I’m not saying we won’t be doing it, we are looking at it…. but people need to understand that it wouldn't be fully effective.”
He added that he doesn't want the public to view international travel as a “silver bullet” because that’s not where all cases came from.