Gary Kelly and his girlfriend
A Co Kildare man stranded amid a Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand
New Zealand declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak and a lockdown came into force at midnight Wednesday [March 25].
Gary Kelly (22) and his girlfriend Emily Healy from Nenagh have been Christchurch since October 2019 after spending 18 months in Sydney.
He said: "The possibility of getting home is looking incredibly slim. I am desperate to get home."
He added: "I would like to call on the Irish government to establish some sort of welfare payment plan for these people as well as myself as we are not entitled to any sort of benefit payment in New Zealand."
Gary said: "Obviously getting home is our first and most important priority however with most countries closing there borders it seems unlikely.
"There are many Irish citizens after spending upwards of NZ$12,000 (€6,550) to try and get home to no avail, leaving many incredibly stuck, including myself."
The number of coronavirus cases in New Zealand has surged to over 200 and the government imposed self-isolation for everyone with all non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut for a month.
Earlier this week, Gary had booked flights from Christchurch to Dublin only to discover they were cancelled at the last minute as the country tightened travel restrictions amid the pandemic.
Gary said: "Some citizens have ended leases and are going to be left with nowhere to turn.
"Nobody is willing to step up to help Irish people get home."