Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told the chair of the all-party Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group the Government is currently looking at ways to relax the 14-day quarantine rule.

The latest development comes as Shannon Airport prepares to resume scheduled passenger operations from next Wednesday, July 1.

Clare Fine Gael TD Joe Carey warmly welcomed the news the airport is to resume operations on a 24-hour basis over the coming days. Deputy Carey is also the interim chair of the Shannon Airport Oireachtas Group and has highlighted the serious challenges facing the airport repeatedly in the Dáil in recent months.

Deputy Carey said: “The return of passenger flights in and out of Shannon is obviously great news for the airport and all its employees, but also for many businesses and companies in Clare and the wider region. The entire West coast of the country depends hugely on tourism traffic provided by the airport and local industry and the significant FDI [Foreign Direct Investment] presence in the Mid-West and western regions depends greatly on the connectivity it provides.”

The Clare TD met with the Taoiseach this week in Government Buildings and raised the challenges facing Shannon Airport.

Deputy Carey added: “The Taoiseach told me his officials are currently looking at potential ways to relax the 14-day quarantine rule, which is vital if full services are to return to Shannon and other airports. Some of the measures being looked at include opening up ‘safe corridors’ of travel to countries where they have successfully contained the virus. I would expect that the 14-day quarantine rule will be relaxed for incoming passengers travelling from named European Countries where the virus has been supressed and that we will hear progress in this regard at the end of next week.”

Deputy Carey also called on Aer Lingus to give a firm commitment that it will resume the Shannon-Heathrow route now that the airport is reopening on a full-time basis.

He said it is “not acceptable” that Shannon continues to be treated differently to Dublin and Cork, where Aer Lingus has kept its Heathrow routes operational.

Deputy Carey added: “I understand Aer Lingus is facing some stark challenges in light of the pandemic, but we need now to hear a commitment from our national flag carrier in relation to the return of the strategic Shannon-Heathrow route. There is no reason for the Heathrow route to remain suspended now the airport is reopening on a 24-hour basis.”