Assistant secretary general in the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan, speaking to reporters Friday. RollingNews.ie photo.
By Irish Echo Staff
The Irish government is intent on bringing all of them home.
It has pledged to leave “no stone unturned” in attempts to repatriate Irish citizens stranded in other countries amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but has warned that the situation is “fast moving and volatile.”
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Assistant Secretary Seneral in the Department of Taoiseach, Elizabeth Canavan, and as reported in the Irish Times, said the government was trying to get 1,000 citizens home from 86 countries.
“Where commercial flights are still available, the Department of Foreign Affairs has recommended that people who are away and wish to come home do so as soon as possible. The situation is fast moving and volatile. What we have seen is not only countries, but entire regions, close off airspace and ground airlines at short notice,” she told reporters at a briefing.
“This has led to people who have confirmed and booked flights having them canceled suddenly or refused at airports. Currently the department is trying to help over 1,000 of our citizens in 86 countries who are seeking assistance to return to Ireland.
“Many are small groups but there are some larger numbers in Australia and a couple of hundred in New Zealand. They are in ongoing contact with airlines and aviation companies and exploring all the options but the situation is not simple.”
But she warned that “it is not as simple as chartering flights.”
Speaking at the government’s Covid-19 update Canavan said the department has to seek permission to enter airspace and regions on the way back to Ireland which is complicating the process.
“We are therefore focused on getting every possible Irish citizen on the shrinking number of commercial flights. The department is also working very closely with the EU and European countries, especially the UK, to get Irish groups on their flights.
“We are leaving no stone unturned and trying to get people home. Citizens should contact the nearest embassy or consulate to update them on their situation and they should closely follow information provided on the embassy Twitter account.”