LEO VARADKAR has hinted that pubs will be reopened in Ireland before the end of summer.
The Tánaiste said he's "increasingly confident" that both indoor and outdoor dining will return in June, or failing that, July.
Speaking to the Irish Daily Mail on Thursday, Varadkar said that Government will be sitting down towards the end of April to discuss the reopening of the hospitality industry.
Pubs in Ireland have been more-or-less closed for the entirety of the pandemic. Only those able to offer customers a 'substantial meal' were able to open up last year, and even then, strict limits on customer numbers and rules regarding social distancing severely limited business.
Another crushing blow came when the decision was made to close pubs for the Christmas period - traditionally their busiest.
But for the first time in far too long, pub and restaurant owners might finally be set for some good news. Mr Varadkar has insisted he's optimistic about the chances of opening the hospitality sector in either June or July.
"We would expect to be in a position, at the end of April, to give an indication as to how hospitality might reopen across the course of June or July," the Fine Gael leader said.
"We have no deep detail on that yet... It is increasingly evident that outdoor dining is much safe than indoor, but we'd hope to get to the point where both will be possible.
"I'm increasingly confident that both will be possible over the course of the summer, but I don't want to raise expectations either and give false hope.
"It really will be the end of April before we're in a position to do that again."
Speaking to RTÉ Radio One yesterday, Varadkar said that non-essential retail and personal services such as hairdressers could be opened back up as early as May.