Covid: Ireland travel ban leaves woman stranded in Holyhead

Covid: Ireland travel ban leaves woman stranded in Holyhead

A woman has been left stranded on Anglesey after most passengers coming from the UK were banned from entering the Republic of Ireland.

Bukola Sokunbi-Walton, from Galway, was travelling from London to spend Christmas with her children when her ferry from Holyhead was cancelled.

The Republic of Ireland is one of several countries to have banned UK visitors due to a coronavirus variant.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting later on Monday.

The Welsh Government said it was seeking “urgent talks” with UK ministers over the implications for Welsh ports.

European Union member states are due to meet in Brussels to discuss a co-ordinated response.

Thee Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France and Canada, have also suspended flights from the UK.

Stena Line and Irish Ferries, which run routes from Wales to Ireland, have both banned passengers on Monday and Tuesday due to the Irish government’s ban, with only freight and essential workers allowed to cross.

Ms Sokunbi-Walton said she only found out about the ban when she arrived at Holyhead ferry terminal on Monday morning and said she was “utterly gutted” that she cannot get home for at least two days.

She said: “I just expected to get on the ferry as usual and go home because I have three children at home waiting for me, but it’s very upsetting and disappointing that I can’t do that right now.

“They [the Irish government] should have given us ample time to prepare for that, at least given us information so that we would know what to do. If we had found out earlier we wouldn’t have driven all the way [from London] – we would’ve waited for the 48 hours before coming here.

“It’s very tiring. We don’t have any accommodation here, we’re sitting out in the car, it’s cold… it’s really a tough time.”

Irish Ferries, which has passenger routes between Holyhead and Dublin, and Pembroke Dock and Rosslare, said essential travel “is permitted”, but travellers are “advised to keep all necessary stops to a minimum and minimise contact with people as much as possible”.

Stena Line has imposed similar rules on its crossings between Holyhead and Dublin, as well as Fishguard to Rosslare.

The Irish government said: “Arrangements are being put in place to facilitate the repatriation of Irish residents on short trips to Great Britain and planning to return in the coming days, as well as international travellers to Ireland who are transiting through Great Britain.”

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