Ireland is to become the first country in Europe that fully-jabbed British citizens can visit without the need for any Covid-19 tests into or out of the country.
There will also be no requirement to self-isolate if fully-vaccinated from Monday.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are pleased to confirm this change in arrangements to welcome British visitors to Ireland from July 19th.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough on everyone, and these changes will afford many people an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long time.
“Ireland’s tourism industry has adopted a safety charter to ensure the wellbeing of both our guests and hospitality workers. We wish all our British friends a safe and enjoyable visit to Ireland.”
Before arriving in Ireland, British visitors will need to complete an online Passenger Locator Form which will be checked by their air or sea carrier before departure.
Passengers may also be asked for proof of vaccination.
On arrival in Ireland, British visitors will need to have proof of full vaccination, for example showing their NHS App Covid Pass, a vaccination status letter or their NHS vaccine paper card.
Passengers without proof of vaccination will require evidence of a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland and will have to quarantine for 14 days or a minimum of five days if they prove negative with a second PCR test provided by the Health Service Executive in Ireland on day five.
From Monday, children under the age of 12 will not need to take a PCR test prior to travelling to Ireland.
However, children aged 12 to 17, who are not fully-vaccinated, will need to show a negative RT-PCR test result on arrival in Ireland, even when travelling with fully vaccinated adults.
It is anticipated that indoor hospitality will recommence on July 26th in Ireland.
Indoor hospitality will only be available to those who are fully vaccinated or with proof of recovery from Covid-19 in the past six months.
Those staying in hotels will be able to avail of the indoor hospitality options within the hotel from Monday.
British travellers who have had both their jabs won’t have to take a covid test to enter the country, or on departure. They also won’t have to quarantine.
However, those without a double vaccinated status will need a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.
They will then have to self isolate for a minimum of five days – if their second PCR test is negative. This is provided by Ireland’s Health Service Executive.
Travellers who test positive on their second PCR test will have to quarantine for 14 days.
Niall Gibbons, the CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We’re pleased to confirm this change in arrangements to welcome British visitors to Ireland from 19 July.
“The Covid pandemic has been tough on everyone and these changes will afford many people an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long time.
“Ireland’s tourism industry has adopted a safety charter to ensure the wellbeing of both our guests and hospitality workers.”
Gibbons then wished “all our British friends a safe and enjoyable visit to Ireland”.
Starting on July 19, children under the age of 12 will not have to take a negative PCR test before entering Ireland.
However, those aged 12-17, who haven’t been double jabbed will have to prove a negative test upon entering the country.
Yesterday, the Irish government approved legislation allowing restaurants, pubs and cafes to serve customers indoors if they can prove they have received both jabs.
Those who have recovered from Covid in the last six months can also enjoy indoor hospitality. The new rules come into effect on 26 July.
However, the bill stirred controversy amongst politicians – only winning by six votes.
According to the BBC, Richard Boyd Barrett of the People Before Profit party said: “The health status or vaccination status of somebody should not determine their rights to access basic things in our society.
“And I say that minister as somebody who is an enthusiast – and our entire party are enthusiastic supporters of vaccination – of the vaccination programme that is happening now.
“And indeed I say it in the context of urging everybody out there who is offered a vaccine to take a vaccine because the vaccination programme is our best chance of getting out of this grim situation we’re in.”
Despite the easing of rules, the Delta variant has seen covid cases in Ireland spark.
Chief Executive of the HSE Paul Reid said although 60 percent of Ireland’s adult population are now fully vaccinated, and 75 percent are partially vaccinated, concern was still present.
However, rising cases over the last two weeks were mostly people under 45.
He said: “Now the exposure we have, is the people who haven’t been vaccinated, so that’s the new vulnerable we are dealing with.
“And the concern is two-fold. Number one, as you are not vaccinated, you are at a high level of risk, and number two, what we want to protect against is the high level of spread and transmission in the community.”
The HSE is now inviting those aged 25-29 to register for their covid vaccine.
The organisation says successfully registered users should be given an appointment within three weeks.
The EU has told Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the bloc is ready to act “firmly and resolutely” to ensure the UK respects its commitments in the Northern Ireland Protocol. The UK is unilaterally planning to extend a “grace period” to allow Northern Irish shops to continue selling chilled meats, including sausages and mince, from Britain once it expires at the end of June. However, last week, the European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said they would “not be shy” in taking action to ensure that the UK abides by its international commitments.
The UK angered Brussels in recent months by unilaterally extending grace periods in the protocol on supermarket goods and parcels.
Mr Sefcovic added: “Unfortunately, we see numerous and fundamental gaps in the UK’s implementation – even though the protocol entered into force over 17 months ago.
“Mutually agreed compliance paths, with concrete deadlines and milestones for the UK to fulfil its existing obligations, would therefore be an important stepping stone – and, I believe, a credible outcome of this joint committee,” Sefcovic added.
“If this does not happen, and if the UK takes further unilateral action over the coming weeks, the EU will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations.”
In a recent report, though, Ray Bassett, the former Irish ambassador to Canada, warned Brussels that its behaviour could be making the case for an Irish Brexit stronger.
He explained: “Many in the Republic understand this and it is clear that the situation calls for direct talks between Dublin and London to sort out this local issue, with flexibility on all sides. Co-operation on an overhaul of the protocol could be the catalyst for a reset of Irish/British relations. That, however, is something that the EU will never countenance.
“Perhaps this would matter less if the EU was taking Dublin’s other interests more seriously, yet Brussels has time and again proved a poor partner.”
Mr Bassett noted Ireland, just like the UK, has extensive and rich fishing grounds and under the Common Fisheries Policy, the local fishing fleet is only allocated 15.5 percent of the stocks in Irish waters.
This was partially compensated for by quotas inside UK waters but after Brexit, the Commission imposed very large cuts on the Irish allocation in the British maritime area, the largest cuts of any EU nation.
He added: “The interests of France, Spain and the Netherlands clearly trumped those of the Irish.”
Mr Bassett concluded in his piece for Briefings for Britain: “Ireland’s two main trading partners are the UK and the USA, with total non-EU trade accounting for well over 60 percent, by far the highest percentage of any EU country.
“The US and the UK are the largest overseas investors in Ireland and between them they receive the bulk of Ireland’s growing external investment. Ireland is part of the Anglosphere of English-speaking countries.
“There are other developments inside the EU which are not to the Irish public’s taste. The growing demand, especially by Germany, for a common foreign policy based on majority voting in the European Council, a push for greater militarisation of the EU, and Ireland’s growing net contribution to the EU budget will all place a strain on the traditional Irish pro-EU sentiment.
“These changes could yet cause an eventual rupture with Brussels. Irexit may be emerging as a credible prospect in the future.”
In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Johnson’s trade adviser Shanker Singham echoed Mr Bassett’s claims as he insisted the level of trust between Ireland and Brussels was never going to be the same after the EU’s blunder earlier this year.
At the end of January, the EU said it would be triggering an emergency provision in the Brexit deal to control COVID-19 vaccine exports, including the possible introduction of checks at the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland to prevent shipments entering the UK.
The move was immediately met with fierce condemnation from London, Belfast, and Dublin and the EU performed a swift U-turn.
Currently, imports of chilled meats from the UK mainland are exempt from custom controls until the beginning of July. However, UK ministers are considering extending the grace period for chiled meats to ensure uninterrupted deliveries of sausages and mince to Northern Irish shops, according to the Daily Telegraph. The British Government has previously unilaterally extended grace periods for supermarket goods and parcels, infuriating Brussels.
As a result, the EU initiated legal proceedings against the UK for breaching the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
Ahead of talks on Wednesday with Lord Frost, Maros Sefcovic warned the UK that any further breach of the protocol would elicit a severe response from Brussels.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, the EU’s Brexit Commissioner said: “If the UK takes further unilateral action over the coming weeks, the EU will not be shy in reacting swiftly, firmly and resolutely to ensure that the UK abides by its international law obligations.”
He argued that the protocol was the “best solution” to the “type of Brexit that the current UK Government chose.”
EU officials have continually pointed the finger of blame at the UK for problems arising from the protocol.
They accuse Britain of failing to implement its provisions and for displaying an uncompromising and inflexible attitude towards resolving outstanding issues.
Rishi Sunak greets G7 finance ministers at Lancaster House
At a meeting in London, the world’s seven most advance economics concluded the agreement that will help start the battle against major corporations avoiding paying tax in countries where they make huge sums. The finance ministers also made a pact in principle to a worldwide minimum corporate tax of 15 percent, which is aimed at ensuring nations don’t undercut one another. Among those most likely to be affected are giants in the tech world, including Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.
The tax proposal has been long in the making and comes just after reports showed that an Irish subsidiary of Microsoft paid zero corporation tax – despite securing $ 315bn (£222bn) profit last year.
The firm was able to do so as it was a resident of Bermuda for tax purposes.
The move has been heralded in many quarters, including by the UK’s Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who claimed the deal would make the global tax system “fit for the global digital age”.
But prior to the meeting, Ireland admitted it had “significant reservations” about the proposals, which were brought forward by US President Joe Biden.
Ireland on brink: G7 tax plan threatens major exodus of tech giants in Dublin (Image: GETTY)
G7 summit: The finance ministers in London (Image: GETTY)
Their main concern was over the minimum corporate tax rate, as Ireland – which has a tax rate of 12.5 percent – has one of the lowest in the world.
This has allowed firms such as Facebook and Google to make their European operations base in Ireland.
If these go ahead, it is feared in Ireland the likes of US tech firms Apple, Microsoft and Google-parent Alphabet, could ditch Dublin and head elsewhere.
One major concern for some is that these firms, the Telegraph reports, directly account for approximately one in eight jobs in the economy.
And Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe admitted Ireland would resist the changes, particularly if they have an impact on the nation’s ability to undercut its rivals.
Speaking in April, Mr Donohoe argued the proposals could see Ireland lose 20 percent of its tax revenues, and added that he would only support an agreement that allowed “appropriate and acceptable tax competition”.
He did admit to having reservations about their being a minimum rate.
Mr Donohoe said Ireland would aim to retain its 12.5 percent tax rate, as he argued that smaller nations must be allowed to use lesser rates to compensate for “advantages of scale”.
Google’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland (Image: GETTY)
He added: “I believe that small countries, and Ireland is one of them, need to be able to use tax policy as a legitimate lever to compensate for the real, material and persistent advantage enjoyed by larger countries.”
After the agreement was confirmed, the tech firms responded – including a spokesperson for Amazon, who said that an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)-led process “that creates a multilateral solution will help bring stability to the international tax system”.
They added: “The agreement by the G7 marks a welcome step forward in the effort to achieve this goal.”
Ireland’s Paschal Donohoe with Rishi Sunak (Image: GETTY)
The OECD is an “intergovernmental economic organisations” that has 38 member countries.
Its aim is to promote world trade, and more recently has been behind work on updating global tax rules.
Sir Nick Clegg, vice‑president for global affairs and communications at Facebook, described the pact as a “significant first step towards certainty for businesses and strengthening public confidence in the global tax system”.
A spokesperson for Google said: “We strongly support the work being done to update international tax rules. We hope countries continue to work together to ensure a balanced and durable agreement will be finalised soon.”
Ireland plans to adopt a COVID-19 certificate to help residents travel more freely across the European Union from mid-July. The country will also apply the same approach to arrivals from the United States and Britain, senior ministers said today.
Fines are also being issued to those heading to airports for holidays and also enforces a two-week mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals from 50 different countries.
Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan hinted last night that international travel would resume from July 19.
However, Leo Varadkar, deputy Prime Minister, said Ireland is “not in a position” to restore the Common Travel Area just yet following the advice from the National Public Health Energy Team following the concerns about the Indian variant.
Some scientists have suggested that the Indian variant of coronavirus could spread 50 percent faster than other variants.
The more transmissible variant accounts for six to seven percent of cases in Ireland currently according to the Transport Minister,
Mr Varadkar added that the lifting of restrictions on international travel would see a “phased return”, but warned residents that it would not be as it was pre-pandemic.
He confirmed that all EU countries will be coming off the mandatory quarantine list.
However, hotel quarantine is expected to continue beyond July 19 for those travelling from designated red list zones who are not fully vaccinated or do not have a negative PCR test.
The so-called EU “green certificate” will allow people who have received a vaccine against COVID-19, had a negative test or are immune, having recovered from COVID-19 to travel freely around the bloc.
Ireland’s Transport Minister said Dublin would adopt a slightly different but similar approach for travellers arriving from Britain and the United States, Ireland’s two largest markets for tourists.
Speaking on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland, Mr Varadkar said: “We’re buying into the European Digital Green Cert system so there will be different set of rules for EU countries versus non EU countries, and there will still be countries that are on a danger list or a red list where restrictions will be very tough.
“It’s great that we’re going to see a return to international travel, but we’re going to try and do this as safely as possible and minimise risk.
“That, unfortunately, will create a degree of uncertainty for some people because you might book a trip somewhere for a country that’s not on a red list but it may be on the red list by the time you go there and there will be requirements around vaccines and testing.
“So, unfortunately, it is not going to be a return to international travel as we used to know it, at least not yet, but it is going to be a clear roadmap, and a pleased return to international travel.”
Speaking on the same show, the Transport Minister added: “Europe will introduce the scheme from July 1, recognising they said that there should be six weeks of an introductory period.
“We will need those weeks because one of the things we’re going to have to manage, and it will be difficult, is how we manage our airports.
“Because as the number of people travelling increases, we will still be requiring people to show the cert and even though that’ll be electronic and brief, this can cause delays.”
A fleet of 50 Irish fishing vessels travelled to Cork Harbour in protest of the new post-Brexit rules on fisheries earlier this week. The fishers have been arguing that Brexit quota restrictions are limiting their access to UK waters have had a severe impact on their industry. Their frustration is heightened by the fact that vessels from European Union countries as France and Spain vessels are enjoying greater access to the catch available in British waters compared to Irish fishermen,
Speaking to RTÉ News, fleet member and owner of the Blue Horizon ship from Castletownbere Joe McGuiness voiced his frustration.
“We’ve all this water off our west coast, and we’re basically not allowed to catch fish in it,” he said.
“All the other boats from other EU countries, France and Spain in particular, are just mopping up what really should be available to the Irish fleet.”
Dinah Busher from Kilmore Quay, owner of the Ellie Ádamh vessel, said: “The quotas that we have, they’re not paying the bills.
Passengers at London Stansted Airport tried to board the flight on Tuesday but were unable to present evidence of their negative or ‘not detected’ result. By law, all passengers arriving into Ireland are required to have negative tests.
Dublin Live reports these Covid-19 RT-PCR tests must be taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Ireland.
The passengers who hadn’t done so at Stansted were the latest to have fallen foul of new travel guidelines imposed as a result of the pandemic. It comes after 31 people were “left in tears” after they were unable to board a flight for Spain at East Midlands Airport.
Speaking in relation to the Stansted incident, a Ryanair spokeswoman said: “Ryanair fully complies with Govt restrictions. A number of passengers on this flight from London Stansted to Dublin [25 May] were denied boarding as they failed to present a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result, as required by Irish regulation.
“Travel restrictions update regularly. Ryanair urges all passengers to check the latest travel updates on the Ryanair.com website and with the relevant authorities in advance of their flight.”
This rule also applies to those intending to visit Ireland by ferry.
But Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has become fed up with the travel restrictions Ireland has imposed.
He has threatened to pull his planes out of the nation if the Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan doesn’t produce a plan for the return of international travel.
He told Newstalk Breakfast: “We in the tourism industry are bitterly unhappy. What we’ve been promised is not a reopening – it’s just an announcement. We have two main issues at the moment. Ireland is closed to tourism because UK visitors must quarantine at home for 14 days when they can flood across the border, making the restriction unwarranted. The UK have 75% of adults vaccinated.
“We have been calling on Eamon Ryan, who is, without doubt, one of the worst Ministers for Transport we’ve ever had to come up with a plan. Eamon Ryan has had a ten-point plan on his desk from July of last year and he has done nothing. He’s a nice man but he’s utterly ineffective.”
Johnny Mercer discusses help for veterans on BBC Breakfast
About 10 special forces veterans face investigation and possible trial over the Troubles. Members of the Who Dares Wins unit undertook high-risk undercover missions to fight terrorists in the region. MP Johnny Mercer, who was fired as Veterans Minister after criticising the Government for not protecting soldiers, said: “We are ruining people’s lives.”
While one SAS veteran of the conflict said: “My colleagues and I risked our lives on a daily basis. Forty-odd years later as a ‘thank you’, the state is hounding us for doing our duty and helping protect the innocent.”
Boris Johnson has often pledged to stop “vexatious” prosecutions of ex-soldiers. But laws safeguarding troops on foreign operations do not cover those on Operation Banner, the deployment in Northern Ireland from 1969 to 2007.
Legislation to address the issue has been delayed and there are claims that the Government fears provoking Republican Sinn Fein.
A senior source said yesterday: “Decisions about charging veterans are being made at the moment. There are a number of cases involving individuals from a number of different units, one of which is the SAS.
“If the Government fails to honour its promise to protect these veterans, you will see a slow trickle of these men going to trial.”
MP Johnny Mercer was fired after criticising the Government for not protecting soldiers (Image: Liam McBurney / PA Wire)
Rusty Firmin, who served with the SAS in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s, said: “I know personally some of the SAS and [special forces] lads that are being and have been pursued.
“I don’t know what charges if any they may face but in my opinion there shouldn’t be any at all.My colleagues and I risked our lives on a daily basis in Northern Ireland tracking and fighting terrorists for the state.
“Forty-odd years later as a thank you the same state is hounding us for doing our duty and helping protect the innocent.”
Author Mr Firmin, who helped break a terrorist siege of London’s Iranian Embassy in 1980, added: “Boris Johnson should be brought to task. Why has he said time and time again he would stop the prosecution of veterans? All the PM and Michael Gove are doing is following Tony Blair’s lead in this – the ex-Labour PM who was responsible in the first place for this mess.”
Under the 1998 Good Friday Agreement promoted by Mr Blair, 500 terrorists including IRA men were freed from jail early and 300 suspects were given guarantees they would not face prosecution.
Robin Horsfall served with the SAS during the Troubles (Image: Screen Grab)
Republican paramilitaries including the IRA caused about 60 per cent of the 3,500 deaths in the Troubles; security forces were responsible for around 10 per cent.
Ex-Army officer Mr Mercer said of the spectre of trials: “This situation will only get worse and worse until the Government fulfils its promise to Northern Ireland veterans. We are ruining people’s lives.
“I am seeing veterans every day now. They are being decimated.”
Robin Horsfall, who served with the SAS during the Troubles, has warned any soldier involved in a shooting might be quizzed.
He said previously: “These prosecutions have always been political and were designed to put pressure on the British Government on behalf of Sinn Fein and the IRA.
“Just one guilty verdict will see them turn around and say that every soldier in Northern Ireland committed atrocities.”
Anti-SAS graffiti across a wall on a Belfast hospital in 1972 (Image: Alex Bowie / Getty)
Four soldiers already face trial for shootings in the Troubles, three of them cases from the early 1970s.
In the first legacy trial of veterans, elderly Paras “A” and “C” were cleared this month of murdering Official IRA gunman Joe McCann as he resisted arrest in 1972, after 48-year-old evidence was ruled inadmissible.
McCann, 24, had killed 15 soldiers, the Official IRA said.
The Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland hinted the failure of the case might affect the trials of other veterans. Former Army head, General The Lord Dannatt, who won the Military Cross in Northern Ireland, said: “It is no longer appropriate to try and prosecute anybody over the Troubles as a means of trying to uncover the truth about incidents in the past.” He backs a Statute of Limitations which would block prosecutions over incidents before the 1998 deal.
Lawyers for one soldier due to go on trial, Dennis Hutchings, say veterans are up to 54 times more likely than Republican paramilitaries to face charges.
Mr Hutchings, 80, said: “It is absolutely crazy.”
Rusty Firmin served with the SAS in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 1980s (Image: NC)
“Special Forces are specifically trained to take out the enemy. They work covertly and put their own lives at serious risk.
“In Northern Ireland they talk about legacy issues. Tony Blair stopped all legacy issues with the Good Friday Agreement – with the exception of service personnel.”
The Ministry of Defence said: “Legal and welfare support is provided for all those involved in this process. We do not comment on past or present activities of the Special Forces.”
Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis hopes to bring in laws on legacy issues shortly. The Government has hinted it is considering a South Africa-style truth and reconciliation process.
Relatives of people killed would learn what had happened without those involved incriminating themselves.
A Whitehall source said: “We are looking for a decisive move away from prosecutions to information recovery for truth and reconciliation for victims.”
The witch hunt has extended to other conflicts: troops who served in Iraq faced more than 3,300 allegations – most levelled by now-disgraced solicitor Phil Shiner’s Public Interest Lawyers. Investigations which cost the taxpayer £57million ended without a single prosecution but were said to have ruined the of lives of innocent soldiers.
Ireland Baldwin had to rock a bikini so fans could see her fun new tattoo: a cowboy boot on her derriere!
Ireland Baldwin loves making “impulsive decisions”: like getting a spontaneous butt tattoo. The 25-year-old model revealed this new tattoo in an Instagram photo on April 19, which was taken at the beach. It showed Ireland rocking a sugary sweet purple and pink bikini and with her back turned to the camera, so that you could see her new ink that read “Yeehaw!” over a cowboy boot over her derriere. Quirky and sexy!
“Taking more time off of Instagram buttttt I got a new tattoo because I [heart emoji] impulsive decisions,” Ireland captioned the tattoo reveal photo. We see what she did there with the butt pun. Social media star Brittany Furlan also joined in on this wordplay, commenting, “This I can get BEHIND.” While this appears to be Ireland’s first tattoo on her bum, it’s far from her first overall; you can see some of these designs from her body artwork in the photo above, like a skeleton that spans the length of her left forearm and an arrow on her upper arm.
Besides a new tattoo, another addition to Ireland’s life has been the arrival of her sixth sibling. Her dad, Alec Baldwin, and his wife, Hilaria Baldwin, announced the arrival of their sixth baby together on March 1, which came as a complete surprise to fans. Alec and Hilaria had just welcomed their son Eduardo “Edu” Pao Lucas in Sept. 2020; they are also the parents of Carmen Gabriela, 7, Rafael Thomas, 5, Leonardo Ángel Charles, 4, and Romeo Alejandro David, 2.
Ireland, however, thinks “the more the merrier” even after being an only child up until she was 17 years old, according to our source. “Ireland loves every minute of it and whether this is the last child her father and stepmom welcome that is great, but if they keep going that is amazing as well. She is taking it all very well and continues to be a beacon of warming her heart,” the insider EXCLUSIVELY toldHollywoodLife at the beginning of March.
“Although Ireland was an only child for most of her life, it never really felt like that because she was raised with all of her cousins growing up,” a second source, who’s close to the Baldwins, EXCLUSIVELY told HollywoodLife after the baby’s arrival. Perhaps Ireland can add to her tattoo collection with the names of her extensive family?