The blanket UK travel ban is to be lifted and strict health regulations will be brought in instead, the Transport Minister has confirmed.
Eamon Ryan has said the current ban on flights from the UK cannot continue forever because this is a vital link for freight, businesses and workers.
“We had to have an emergency response to the UK Government’s announcement on Saturday evening and by Sunday afternoon we had our emergency response, we were going to have to lock down, ban travel and stop flights and so on.
“But that approach can’t continue forever and a day because we do have to manage our whole range of other priorities.
“So what we will likely do is introduce further, more detailed regulations around all that travel so we do it in a very safe way."
Mr Ryan said this is the approach the European Commission is recommending and it is likely that the Government will follow this and adopt measures for "very specific circumstances".
He said: “We’re still going to have travel between the UK and we know we have to have it for freight and it’s not just for the UK’s land bridge with the continent, 80% of the freight we have comes to and from the UK, and for some businesses vital air freight as well as ferry freight."
But he added that protocols have to be put in place to make sure that people can travel safety.
"Avery practical example, on the energy side, we require expert engineers to come in on a regular basis to maintain and to service our power stations. That’s just one example that I know of."
He said essential workers will have to be allowed into the country in the next two to three months to maintain essential vital services and infrastructure but access could be regulated strictly on health grounds.
“That’s the European Commission [approach], that you use health regulations to control travel rather than doing blanket bans," he said.