IRISH HOLIDAYMAKERS could be allowed to jet abroad as early as July, according to Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.
In a huge boost to anyone hoping to hit the beaches this summer (the warm, non-Irish ones), Coveney admitted that there's a chance holidays abroad could be on the cards sooner rather than later.
While he insisted that Ireland would be taking a cautious approach to reopening international travel, the minister said he expects everything to be open by August at the latest.
"The likely scenario here is that certainly by August but perhaps even in July we may well see international travel being a possibility again for people who are fully vaccinated," Coveney said on Thursday.
"We will act with probably more caution than many other countries within the European Union and that's because I think as an island we have managed to get Covid levels down to a manageable level.
"Another seven people have lost their lives to Covid as of today so we need to be cautious and we need to make sure that international travel is not essentially reseeding Covid infections in communities in Ireland."
His comments follow those of Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, who said there was to be a phased easing of restrictions during the summer, which included the reintroduction of international travel.
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ryan said that during June, July and August, a gradual reopening of travel, and of wider society as a whole, will take place.
"Covid is not going away," he said. "It will probably convert from being a pandemic to an epidemic.
"The purchases of the new versions of the vaccine which allow us to protect against variants over the next few years is key.
"What that will allow us to do this summer is to start the opening up process.
"I expect further measures of relaxation in June, July and August including the opening up of international travel and a return to colleges and to the workplace.
"There will be a return to a much more normal life."