Govt must act to repatriate Irish in Australia – Collins

Published on: 24 March 2020

Fianna Fáil TD for Limerick Niall Collins has written to the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs asking them to outline the government’s plan to repatriate Irish people living in Australia.

Deputy Collins called for a repatriation plan after a number of airlines announced that they are to cease flights out of Australia.

“Last week the HSE launched it’s “On Call for Ireland” appeal and thankfully it has been overwhelmed with applications from Irish people wanting to come home to work in the health service and help tackle the spread of the Coronavirus. The applications have come from all over the world, with many Irish people in Australia signing up”, said Deputy Collins.

“However many healthcare workers, as well as other Irish people wanting to return home, are finding it increasingly difficult to leave Australia as many of the main airlines are ceasing flights out of the country.

“I have been made aware of a number of cases of young people, whose visas are on the brink of running out who are now worried that they may not be able to get home and are worried about outstaying their visa and running out of money.

“These people don’t know how to get home. People who had booked flights have had them cancelled and they are beginning to panic.

“I have written to the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and to the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney asking them what plan is in place to ensure that these people are repatriated home, and not left stranded in Australia. I believe we have a duty to these Irish citizens, particularly when so many of them were responding to an initiative to improve the country’s ability to contain COVID 19. We must ensure that these people can make their way home safely”, concluded Deputy Collins.