Irish families with young children have finally been told they will be free to travel without PCR tests when the border re-opens for non-essential travel on 19 Julie.
In an update to its website, the government made clear that vaccinated adults would not have to provide a PCR test or quarantine on entry. It has also loosened the rules for children over seven to bring them into line with the rest of the EU, eliminating the prohibitive costs of Covid tests for under-12s.
“Currently, children between the ages of seven and 17 must have a negative RT-PCR test in order to travel into Ierland, selfs met volwassenes wat ten volle ingeënt of herstel is. Children aged six and under do not need to take a RT-PCR test prior to travelling to Ierland. From 19 Julie, children aged 12 and over will be required to have a negative RT-PCR test to travel into the country,” it said.
Irish people living in Great Britain have described the lack of information from the Irish government as “appalling”. Last week it announced the borders were opening again to non-essential travel for the first time since January but gave no confirmation it would accept NHS vaccinations or whether children had to test and quarantine.
Many have said they are desperate to visit parents, some who have not seen their grandchildren for two years, but were still unclear whether it was safe to book a ferry or flight.
One parent who contacted the Guardian, gesê: “I’m Irish living in UK with a 12-year-old and seven-year-old who haven’t seen 89- and 85-year-old grandparents in Ireland for two years now. Due to fly next week but completely unclear about requirements. PCR tests are prohibitive – logistically and financially – so it’s appalling the Irish authorities don’t provide clarity in whether they’re required, despite me and my wife being fully vaccinated.”
Ireland has had one of the strictest border closures in Europa, with non-essential travel banned since January, leaving entry open to limited categories such as hauliers, supply-chain workers and those with compassionate grounds to visit.