No visiting the offshore islands until mid August

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Galway Daily news Funding for safety renovations to Aran Islands piers

The government has said that travel to the offshore islands for visitors won’t resume until August 10, when the country enters the final phase of coming out of lockdown.

No tourist travel has been allowed to the Aran Islands since the end of March, when Island Ferries said they would only be taking essential and emergency services to the islands from the mainland.

Earlier that month residents of Inis Mór had appealed to tourists to stay away, with 94% voting in favour of limiting travel when asked by Comharchumann Forbartha Árann Teo.

Ireland will enter the first phase of lifting lockdown restrictions imposed for the Covid-19 crisis on May 18.

But island travel is not expected to resume until Phase 5, which will get underway on August 10.

The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said today that, save for permanent residents and people carrying out essential services, there should be no travel to them from the mainland until that point.

“The Department is keenly aware of the concerns among the island communities regarding visitors to islands, particularly in these summer months.”

“In accordance with phase 5 of the recently published roadmap issued by the Government for the reopening of Ireland’s economy and society, it is not envisaged that Ireland’s offshore islands will be opened for visitors until 10 August.”

“It is recognised that we are all in an unprecedented period, which creates challenges for us all.”

“That said, these challenges will be best overcome if we work in partnership for the benefit of the communities we serve.”