Chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan has said it is not “realistic” that people will be able to fly off on foreign holidays this summer.
“I don’t think we’re headed for a summer where millions of people from this part of the world, from Europe, can expect to be heading to beaches that are in other than their own localities.”
He said this summer will not see characteristics of a usual summer.
“I don’t think its realistic for us to foresee a situation where in the summertime, this year, that we will see a summer that's characterised by the kinds of things that we all like to be in a position to do, which is fly off to other parts of Europe and the world for summer holidays.
“I just don’t think that’s realistic,” he added.
Meanwhile Dr Holohan said he “stands over” the work of Nphet and does not “accept” Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s attack on public health chiefs, accusing them of “mass hysteria”.
Dr Holohan said he has “nothing but admiration” for Mr O’Leary and said Nphet has the hard job of delivering news people “don’t want to hear”.
“We stand over the processes, the information, the advice that we’ve given to the best of our ability over the course of the year,” Dr Holohan said tonight.
“[I have] nothing but admiration for Mr O’Leary in everything he's done for the Irish airline industry for this country.”
This morning, Mr O’Leary launched an attack on public health experts and urged them to “get the finger out”.
He also accused RTÉ of “pandering to the misinformation coming out of Nphet” and that Nphet was disseminating misinformation and “scare stories” as well as causing “mass hysteria” about international travel.
He added that he expects to see a “dramatic recovery” for international travel this summer and that “millions of people [will be] travelling to the beaches of Europe in July, August and September”.
However, Dr Holohan did not agree, calling this not “realistic”.