Stena Line defends free travel home for Christmas promotion aimed at Irish students in the UKhttps://www.independent.ie/news/8c369/39760156.ece/AUTOCROP/w1000/Stena%20Line.jpg
by Luke Byrne
November 17 2020 10:39 PM
FERRY company Stena Line is defending a promotion allowing students to travel home for free at the beginning of December - saying it is a means to stop the spread of Covid-19.
Under the promotional heading ?students sail home for free this Christmas with Stena Line?, the company is offering free passage across the Irish Sea on its economy or flexi motorist ticket, when travelling with another adult.
It comes despite a call from T?nasite Leo Varadkar to Irish people abroad not to book trips home for Christmas yet, to prevent Covid-19 cases being brought back into the country.
The British government?s handling of the pandemic has been criticised after the number of virus cases there soared to more than 20,000 a day in recent weeks.
?We?re not in the position at this point to advise people that it?s safe to come home for Christmas,? Mr Varadkar told the D?il last Thursday.
?I know that?s a tough message to hear but that is the case at the moment,? he said.
A spokesman for Stena Line told Independent.ie the dates of travel for its promotion, from December 3-9 only, coincide with the UK?s university evacuation plan.
?They?ve identified that week as when they are going to evacuate all the universities. It?s to stop the spread of Covid.
?The goal is to get students home before Christmas, not at Christmas.
?If you go to halls of residence, you usually pay for the term. They?re returning to their home residences so it?s essential travel,? the spokesman said.
?In the UK they?ve identified a week when they are gong to evacuate all the universities.?
He said both the UK and Ireland are scheduled to be out of lockdown by December 3, after which the traffic light system for travel is in operation.
The company?s promotion said ?now more than ever people are looking forward to Christmas and spending time with family and friends after months apart due to the global pandemic?.
It said ?travel windows? were being introduced by the UK to help students make it home.
?Family members can travel across the Irish Sea to pick up students and help take them home whilst availing of this offer.?
The company said it has continued to invest in various safety measures aimed at ?ensuring ferry travel is the safest form of transport?.
Source: Irish Independent online editionhttps://www.independent.ie/news/stena-line-defends-free-travel-home-for-christmas-promotion-aimed-at-irish-students-in-the-uk-39760157.html