LEO VARADKAR has warned that some public health restrictions could remain in place after October 22 in order to prevent another resurgence of Covid-19.
Next Friday, which has dubbed Ireland's 'Freedom Day', the vast majority of restrictions will be lifted and/or eased in what will prove to be the country's most significant step towards pre-pandemic normality since the virus hit these shores.
Physical distancing and vaccine certificates will be gone, while mask wearing will be limited to public transport and retail settings.
However, despite admitting earlier this month that Ireland was "on track" to go ahead with Freedom Day as planned, the Tánaiste refused to rule out re-imposing some restrictions if Covid-19 cases spike later down the line.
He also said that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) would meet next week to discuss such a situation.
"The Delta wave didn’t turn out to be as severe as we feared… but we’ve never managed to really get numbers down in Ireland," Varadkar told Pat Kenny on Newstalk on Wednesday morning.
"The Delta wave swept across Europe… but you see countries in central Europe that are now yellow zones or green zones, and we're still a red zone.
"There is going to be a NPHET meeting early next week - we have to see what the outcome of that meeting is and what their advice is.
"The plan is to lift pretty much all legal restrictions on October 22nd, to remove the vaccine pass [requirement] from restaurants for example.
"But that is something we have to consider next week, depending on the numbers and the advice from NPHET."