Write a comment
Pin It

At present you are allowed to cross the border to visit a clatter of family and friends without the regulations requiring you to 'self isolate' on your return but if you cross the border to do a solo climb of Slieve Foye in Carlingford with your puppy you will then need to lock yourself away for ten days when you get home - mind you it could take ten days to recover from the climb!

Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty has called on the First Ministers to provide clarity on cross border travel regulations.

A solo walk on Slieve Foye could see you needing to self isolate for ten days! Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
A solo walk on Slieve Foye could see you needing to self isolate for ten days! Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Mr McNulty said "people do not understand why foreign travel to Portugal and other Green List countries does not require self isolation upon return but those who travel from Crossmaglen to Carlingford would be expected to isolate for a period of 10 days when they come home."

The present regulations say "You can travel within the Common Travel Area to visit family and friends" BUT while not requiring a ten day self isolation period they add "you are strongly advised to take a pre- departure Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test, and then a LFD test on day 2 and day 8 after you return home."

The regulations add "If you’re travelling to Northern Ireland from within the Common Travel Area you should self-isolate for 10 days, unless exempt"

Exemptions include 

  • visits to family and friends
  • work, where you cannot work from home
  • accessing health and social care services
  • accessing education services which does not require an overnight stay
  • accessing critical services including childcare or services to victims
  • fulfilling essential caring responsibilities
  • buying essential goods or services within your local area, where you live in counties that border the Republic of Ireland
  • attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services, where you live in counties that border the Republic of Ireland
  • fulfilling a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or participating in legal proceedings
  • to provide emergency response services
  • to attend a funeral of a member of your household or close family member
  • those who have completed mandatory managed isolation on arrival at a point of entry elsewhere in the CTA and travelled directly to NI upon leaving the managed isolation facility

Mr McNulty adds “Since the new rules regarding cross border travel were implemented this week, I have been approached by a significant number of people who are totally confused and concerned. It does not make sense to many that you can take a foreign holiday and come home without self-isolating but travelling across the border without a valid excuse will result in a 10-day isolation period.

“Are the First Ministers honestly saying that people should be allowed to take a sun holiday in the Algarve but if they visit a caravan in Carlingford, Omeath or Donegal they need to isolate? It is incredibly difficult to justify official advice like that. Moreover, what about families who cannot afford to holiday abroad but can afford to stay somewhere here on our own island?

“While the Executive will continue to review this advice, the SDLP has written to the joint First Ministers seeking a review of the arrangements for cross-border travel that keeps people safe and doesn’t create a rich / poor divide in our communities. As we begin to reopen and rebuild from the pandemic, it is important that restrictions are based on risk of transmission of the virus and that people can have confidence in the decisions being made. I hope that the Joint First Ministers from the DUP and Sinn Fein will review the arrangements relating to cross-border travel with this in mind.

“People need clarity and communication not confusion and chaos. It’s about time the heads of government in DUP and Sinn Fein learn from their past mistakes so that ordinary people who have fought so hard against Covid-19 have a clear understanding of the pathway to keeping them safe and to our local recovery.”

Say something here...
or post as a guest
Loading comment... The comment will be refreshed after 00:00.

Be the first to comment.


Please consider supporting

Amount require Cookies on some parts of our site to enable full functionality. By using you consent to our use of Cookies. You can use your browser settings to disable cookies on this or any other website.