CLARE TD Michael McNamara said that the Taoiseach was “telling fibs”, in the Dáil last week.
A fractious exchange followed when Deputy McNamara claimed that Ireland is not implementing existing EU law.
“In response to the crisis in the aviation sector generally, and Shannon Airport in particular, many of the Ministers, and indeed backbenchers, said that the digital green pass would be the panacea. I have the regulation introducing it. It came into effect on July 1. The State does not have six weeks to begin implementing it; it has six weeks to implement it completely.
“Crucially, as of July 1, the State must issue certificates to people who have been vaccinated, who have recovered or who have been tested, not in the agreed format, but so that they can travel. Instead, the Ministers have increased the ban on non-essential foreign travel in contravention of that. Does the Government adhere to the rule of law and the belief in the supremacy of EU law?”
Responding the Taoiseach said, “I do not quite get the question. We are not banning anything.”
On 1 July, an EU Regulation to facilitate free movement, binding on every EU state came into force. The Taoiseach didn't even seem aware of new Irish Regulations, made on 4 July, invalidly continuing the offence of “non-essential travel” to EU states. pic.twitter.com/WcQHV359N7
— Michael McNamara TD (@MlMcNamaraTD) July 7, 2021
When Mr McNamara asked if he knew what he was doing, the Taoiseach replied “The Government is signing on with the European digital Covid certificate framework in terms of travel. People can travel now, by the way.”
This hardly placated Mr McNamara, who sought to interject even as the Taoiseach said “People are travelling as we speak.”
While the Ceann Comhairle sought to instruct him to stop talking, Mr McNamara said of the Taoiseach “He is telling fibs”.
“The Minister for Health signed a regulation making it unlawful to travel for non-essential reasons until July 19, in contravention of this,” Mr McNamara added, despite continued requests from the Ceann Comhairle for him to desist.
While the Taoiseach sought to stress preparedness for July 19, Deputy McNamara stressed that certificates enabling people to travel should have been in place since the start of the month.
by Owen Ryan