The State must be "ready to go" when the European digital green certificates go live, Dundalk TD Ruairí Ó Murchú has said.
Speaking in the Dáil last week, the Sinn Féin deputy clarified: "We are now aware of the Kent variant, which has had a huge impact in Britain and throughout Ireland. Beyond that, we have the ongoing horror for people in India. That is why we need to maintain all the tools required in order to protect ourselves.
"There is an acceptance that it took us some time to get the show on the road with mandatory hotel quarantine.
"We did not necessarily get all our ducks in a row when it came to international travel and other facilities. We need to make sure that we do not allow ourselves to fall behind in any way, shape or form.
"We all welcome that we have the option of the EU digital green certificate. We need to ensure we are capable, competent and can operate without any difficulties with the technological aspects of it. We must be fit to move when we need to move. That is absolutely necessary.
"Many businesses and industries, particularly the aviation sector, want clarity, or as much as can be given. That is accepting that every decision that needs to be made needs to take fully into account health precautions because, first and foremost, we need to protect people’.
He stated that the "digital green certificate will play a significant role" in the future. The Oireachtas transport committee has spoken about running a pilot study on international travel, which, the TD feels provides "the opportunity to do all the heavy lifting to ensure we are ready to move when we need to move."
Meanwhile, there needs to be conversations with the Northern Executive too. Deputy Ó Murchú added: ‘On this island, we also have to get the show in order as regards our conversations with the Northern Executive.
"No one wants to be hearing about difficulties in this area, particularly across the media. That needs to happen as soon as possible."
The aviation industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors during the last 18 months and the Sinn Fein TD believes the industry needs both support and clarity from the government while also making sure they don't use the pandemic to make their staff take the hit
"Any supports given need to take into account the needs of the workers and ensure airlines do not take advantage of this situation. We need to provide security for workers and families and ensure connectivity on this island."
He said he welcomed the opening up announcements on Friday, but "people need to be cautious" and "adhere as much as possible to the public health advice."
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