Billy Kelleher, MEP for Munster and parts of Leinster.
“The Irish Government must ensure that there is no delay in the rollout of the Digital Green Certificate,” according to Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher.
Mr Kelleher was commenting as the European Parliament was finalising its position ahead of negotiations with the Commission and European Council this week.
“Good work is being undertaken at Parliament level this week. Based on previously announced timelines, it is expected that the trilogue negotiations will conclude by the end of May.
“We then expect Member States to take up to six weeks to roll out their systems, in alignment with agri EU guidelines. All going well the DGCs should be available by mid-July.
“Sadly, there have been reports in the Irish media that the Irish Government will not be in a position to rollout the certificates until August at the earliest. Some have mentioned technological challenges, such as linking data from the HSE in terms of vaccinations, PCR testing, and current/prior virus status, and data from private providers.
“However, the question really needs to be asked, why is Ireland always the slowest to implement new and innovative technology solutions? A certificate of this nature has been on the cards since the New Year so why was no groundwork done in advance.
“What must not happen is the other 26 EU members begin operating the scheme, and Ireland being left behind.
“Whether we like it or not, international travel and tourism are part of our economic future. Hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake. Hospitality businesses across Ireland desperately need tourists to recoup the losses of the past 14 months.
“Also crucially, Irish people will want to travel, take a break and see family living overseas. The Green Digital Certificate must be in operation by mid-July - no ifs, no buts, and no maybes.
“Every resource of the State, and if necessary, private support, must be deployed to make it happen on time,” concluded Mr Kelleher.
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