Ryanair has lost its High Court challenge against travel measures introduced by the Government in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The airline claimed they amounted to a legal restriction on travel in and out of the country.

The State disputed those claims, arguing the measures are merely advisory and not binding in nature.

Mr Justice Garrett Simons ruled yesterday that the Government had not exceeded its executive powers and trespassed upon the legislative power in relation to the measures.

Ryanair’s action was against An Taoiseach, Ireland and the Attorney General, seeking various orders and declarations, including one setting aside the measures announced in late July.

This included the advice not to travel outside of Ireland save for essential purposes.

Ryanair also challenged the requirement for those returning to the State from countries not on the designated Green List to restrict their movements and self-isolate for 14 days.

The company claimed the restrictions were unconstitutional and breached various Health Acts, the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. It said the Government’s travel measures were outrageous, confusing and a detriment to both the public and its business.

The State argued Ryanair had no legal basis to bring its challenge, that the courts could not intervene with this advice and that the airline’s proceedings were moot or pointless.

Aer Lingus was a notice party to the proceedings and supported Ryanair’s action.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Simons said the Government acted lawfully in providing travel advice and public health advice during the coronavirus pandemic on a non-statutory basis. The Government was entitled, in the exercise of the executive power, to provide such advice.

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