A Cork man who couldn’t travel home for his grandmother’s funeral says the decision to close the Common Travel Area has had heartbreaking consequences for Irish people in Britain.
oin Burns (36) sadly lost his grandmother to Covid-19 in February and had to watch her funeral service online.
She contracted the virus in her nursing home, just before she was due to get her vaccine.
“It was very tough but she had a good life. Covid deaths are quite cruel and blunt with the restrictions, but technology found a way to bring us all together,” he said.
Mr Burns, who is originally from Bishopstown, currently lives in Manchester, which has experienced a surge in cases linked to the spread of the Delta variant.
“We’re not exactly on lockdown here in Manchester, but we are being told not to travel and to only meet people outdoors,” Mr Burns said.
Surge testing and vaccinations are currently under way in the greater Manchester and Lancashire areas after cases soared above the national average. The outbreaks have been primarily caused by the Delta variant, which originated in India.
While Mr Burns knows how devastating the virus can be, he also believes lockdowns and travel restrictions are “ruining people’s quality of life”.
“I think Theresa May made a good point when she said it made no sense that travel is stricter in the UK now with people vaccinated than it was this time last year with nobody vaccinated. We’re not going to be able to eradicate all variants.”
The closure of the Common Travel Area has also been difficult for his brother, who is a pilot.
“His career has essentially been on hold,” Mr Burns said.
His son Conor, who is six months old, has yet to make it to Ireland to meet his father’s family.
However, Mr Burns made the decision to book flights home during the summer now that he and his wife are fully vaccinated.
“We will have to quarantine for five days and have a negative PCR test. It’s been hard not being able to go home so we have decided to do it.
“Hopefully it can still go ahead.”
Mr Burns, who has been living in Britain for 12 years and works with one of the country’s leading construction companies, said the government’s handling of the pandemic has been “quite poor”.
“It definitely could have been better,” he said.
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