LEO VARADKAR has claimed young people who are not fully vaccinated against Covid-19 can still travel abroad this summer.
The Tanaiste’s claims run contrary to the advice of Ireland’s chief medical officer.
Dr Tony Holohan had previously advised people not to travel unless they are fully vaccinated against the potentially deadly coronavirus.
However, the majority of people under the age of 30 are not likely to have had both vaccine doses until September at the earliest.
Speaking to RTE's The Week In Politics, Varadkar claimed it would be “unfair” to ask young people not to travel once the EU’s digital travel certificate is introduced.
The digital travel cert is set to be introduced on July 19.
Under the new system people will be able to travel provided they have undergone PCR tests or recently recovered from Covid.
Varadkar said: "The advice from the chief medical officer is very clear.
"He's saying that people who aren't fully vaccinated shouldn't travel, people who are fully vaccinated can.
"Because if you're fully vaccinated, it's very unlikely you will pick up the virus, it's very unlikely you'll bring it back to Ireland.
"And if I was the CMO, that's the advice that I would give.
"Because we are the Government, we have to take wider considerations into account, and that's why the Government advice, the law we're putting in place is actually different than the CMO's advice.
"We are saying that people who aren't fully vaccinated, including all those young people can travel abroad, but they will need to get a PCR test before they return and that is the protection that we're looking for."
Though his remarks went against it, Varadkar was keen to stress that Dr Holohan’s advice remains "totally right from scientific and medical grounds" though young people should be free to go abroad if they have the necessary travel certificate.
The Tanaiste was keen to stress, however, that restrictions on international travel could be reintroduced if the Delta variant spreads further.
He said: "It's not beyond the realms of possibility that if Delta really takes off all over Europe and all around the world that we could see travel restrictions being re-imposed again.
"Look at what Belgium did today, for example, banning travel from the UK."
Dr Holohan previously urged the public to avoid non-essential travel to the UK amid concerns over the Delta variant.