Ryanair has announced it will remove up to 1,000 flights from its UK-Ireland routes in August and September as Ireland “maintains a defective quarantine restriction on EU visitors”.
The airline said that the Republic has become the only EU country with a 14-day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from other states in the bloc, most of which have lower Covid-19 infection rates.
The company plans to cut the flights between Cork, Shannon, Kerry and Knock airports and the UK.
The airline said in a statement: “Last week when the UK and Northern Ireland removed travel restrictions on short-haul flights to/from the European Union, Ireland became the only country in the EU with a blanket 14-day quarantine restriction on all arrivals from EU countries, most of which have lower Covid case rates than Ireland.
“Air travel between Ireland and the UK is being badly damaged by this ineffective 14-day quarantine.
“Ryanair will significantly reduce its flights between Ireland and the UK in August and September, to reflect this suppressed demand.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald said tourists should be told “don’t come this season” and that anyone arriving in the country should face mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The island of Ireland cannot be left exposed and it was not enough to accept “on a wing and prayer” that people were self-quarantining, she told RTÉ radio’s Today with Sarah McInerney.
The Republic’s acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said on Monday that, from a public health perspective, a mandatory quarantine for incoming travellers would be a “desirable measure” but it was up to the Government to decide given the wider implications.
Ryanair has previously criticised the “poor travel advice” of public health officials in the Republic, saying the National Public Health Emergency Team “failed to deliver” an effective track and tracing system.