Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government remains “cautious” on international travel as its priority is on opening up parts of society safely.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said the Government remains “cautious” on international travel as its priority is on opening up parts of society safely.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Martin said there is still a lot of volatility relating to Covid-19 and the Cabinet will be discussing measures this week that may be needed, such as strengthening measures at airports, ahead of issuing a possible ‘green list’ of countries.
When asked if Great Britain can get on Ireland’s green list, he responded that “suppression of the virus is key”.
He said the Government has watched reports of where parts of UK have had to go into lockdown and said so many countries are facing such challenges and that is why “we are saying not to travel for non essential purposes”.
He said the focus for the Government here is about opening up society safely.
“Our priority is to get schools open and free up hospitals to deal with non-Covid and get more activity. I think caution is the watch word here and that will be our approach.”  
He said the Government is developing a methodology similar to the EU and it is taking into account the level of the virus in other countries.
“That will be the metric in advising Irish citizens travelling abroad.”
He said the Government is concerned by a possible second wave of the virus given what is happening globally.
Mr Martin has previously been critical of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Regarding Brexit, Mr Martin said there has been some progress made but more detail is needed and an injection of momentum.
He described having a “fruitful discussion” with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently when he took up office as Taoiseach.
“We both agreed it is in everyone’s interest particularly for businesses and securing employment that we get a good trade deal between the EU and UK.”
He said he is concerned that time is tight in terms of mechanisms getting through and, in his opinion, we are in an “urgent time frame” now.
“Progress has been too slow and we need an injection of momentum” and he said there needs to be a sense of bringing the discussions to conclusion.
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Responding to his previous criticism of Mr Johnson, Mr Martin said focus now is on resetting their relationship post-Brexit.
“We are both committed to the necessity of doing that. The entire peace process was based on the relationship. Central to all of this is a proactive relationship between the UK and Ireland and I am very dedicated to that and so is the Prime Minister.”
He said there are a number of sticking points with Brexit but believes “if there is a will there is a way” in resolving outstanding issues, and mechanisms can be developed to ensure agreement.
He said he sees no sense in a No-deal Brexit and that workers will suffer if that is the case.
“I think there will be a deal. There has to be a deal. It can’t be at any price. My obligation as Taoiseach is to think of the people of Ireland.”
He said there will not be a border with Northern Ireland as the protocol within the withdrawal agreement has been agreed and there is no going back on that.
“I think Northern Ireland can get the best of both worlds here, continued access to UK market and access to the European single market.”