TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS are to remain in place in Ireland in their current form for the "foreseeable future", according to Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien.
He's insisted that while the measures are "extremely strict", they're absolutely necessary in order to properly suppress the spread of Covid-19 before the effect of the country's vaccination programme is properly felt.
This is in spite of the fact the minister noted that "less than 1% of the third wave of infection is related to foreign travel".
"For the foreseeable future, as vaccines are being rolled out across the European Union in Ireland and in Britain, that it is likely we will see stricter measures remaining in place," Mr O'Brien said.
"We're within the European Union itself, and obviously, we look at what our European colleagues have done. And indeed with Britain, and they're grappled with this issue too. It's not just as easy that you click your fingers and borders close, and quarantine comes in place.
"But in the short term, and medium term, of course, we're going to continue to protect our country, protect our borders and take whatever measures are required to do that," he added.
"We want to get back to a situation whereby life returns back to normal as soon as we can, later this year or early next year."
Mr O'Brien added that the vaccination programme needed to be nimble and agile to respond to changes, and later defended the country's decision to introduce mandatory quarantine.