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Ministers told to 'show a good example' by spending their summer break here

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Holiday: Micheál Martin will spend a few days in west Cork. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Holiday: Micheál Martin will spend a few days in west Cork. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Holiday: Micheál Martin will spend a few days in west Cork. Photo: Gareth Chaney, Collins

Ministers are being instructed to stay in Ireland for their summer holidays as the Government reels from the resignation of Fáilte Ireland chairman Michael Cawley.

A member of Cabinet told the Irish Independent: "Everyone had been told you have to stay in Ireland to show a good example. You have to spend your euro in your own community and local economy."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin made his call on colleagues to stay at home for their holidays before the latest blow to the Government's messaging on Covid-19, which was caused by the tourism chief's decision to travel to Italy when the State is heavily advising against non-essential travel.

The Taoiseach would lead by example with his own holidays this month by taking a few days "here and there" in west Cork, his spokeswoman said.

Mr Martin might have a few long weekends with his family, while keeping a tight focus on the national coronavirus crisis.

Other ministers will follow suit. Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said he would be spending two weeks on the Wild Atlantic Way, starting in Mayo and finishing in Cork.

But he joked: "When people know you are in the area, the invitations to pop in, drop in or attend a quick meeting come in and Matt (Barrett) will kill me if I start doing any of that while we are on holiday."

Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney, despite his portfolio, will also be staying at home: "I'm taking a week's holiday with my family on Sherkin Island in west Cork.

"Around beautiful Roaringwater Bay there is lots to do, with loads of dolphins and whales this summer. I'll be doing some mackerel fishing, taking long walks and swimming in the sea with the kids."

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Tourism Minister Catherine Martin, who asked for and received Mr Cawley's resignation on Saturday, told the Irish Independent: "My family and I were in Sligo for a few days last week and hope to go to Clare and Kerry too."

Her party leader, Eamon Ryan, was on Inishbofin last week, but is back at work. Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said: "I am taking a few days with the family in Ireland. I'm not getting into details as it's my family's holidays and they're not public figures."

Former health minister Simon Harris, now in charge of Third Level Education, said he had been enjoying some time walking in Wicklow and made a visit to Kilkenny.

"We may take another few days in Ireland over the next few weeks but no firm plans yet. It's such a beautiful country we live in," Mr Harris said.

Education Minister Norma Foley said: "I'm not taking any holidays. But I hope to get some time, perhaps at the weekends, to enjoy the fair Kingdom."

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