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Expats are devastated over British travel ban


Conor Shields won’t get home

Conor Shields won’t get home

Conor Shields won’t get home

A woman whose family cannot travel home for Christmas has offered a seat at her table to someone who would otherwise be alone.

Mary Dickinson was looking forward to Christmas Day with her family, who all live in England, but those plans were shattered at the weekend.

Ms Dickinson first heard of the restrictions when her daughter Sarah texted her on Saturday and she "looked at the TV in shock".

"I couldn't believe it. Then when the Irish Government said nobody is allowed to travel, I started to feel very down."

She took to Facebook to offer a seat at the table to anyone who might be alone.

"So many people have lost loved ones and we must be grateful for what we have," she said.

Meanwhile, Dubliner Conor Shields (24) should be back home in Ireland by now.


However, with the sudden travel ban on flights and ferries from Britain, he is stuck in London.

"We had a flight booked from Luton, but obviously with the restrictions we thought we wouldn't be able to travel up to the airport or we might get stopped by the police, so we decided to just stay," he said.

Like many families, it has been a tough year for the Shieldses.

There was a death in the family last April during the first lockdown and he was un- able to return for the funeral.

He had spent the past two weeks limiting his movements "to make sure we were safe to travel".

He is among many Irish people in Britain who have been sharing their woes about the trip home for Christmas.

Kathy Whitsell, from Clare, was due to fly in to Dublin yesterday.

"I've been living in London for six years and have never missed a Christmas at home," she said.

Despite her disappointment, she understood the ban was necessary.