Everyone arriving in Ireland who isn't an essential worker should face mandatory hotel quarantine, according to the Labour leader Alan Kelly.
Deputy Kelly said getting down to zero COVID is ‘borderline impossible’, but the country can get case numbers down to low double digits and keep them low.
Amid calls for a zero COVID approach, Labour is putting forward what it calls a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Deputy Kelly said he believes the country has no other choice but to follow such an approach now.
He said: “People are really concerned and worried about 2021… we feel in order for 2021 not to be the same as 2020, we need to do this to suppress the virus.
"Then hopefully later on the year we’ll be able to open up more, and have resourced public health teams to act panzer-like where there’s virus outbreaks.
“Because of the volume of border crossings, we do need to ensure that [for] people who are travelling in or out of the North in the Republic... we do everything we can to find out why they’re doing so.”
He said he's glad to see new fines for non-essential border crossings, but the rules need to be 'more comprehensive' than that.
In terms of international travel, Garda checkpoints around airports and ports have been scaled up, with anyone travelling for non-essential travel facing a €500 fine.
However, Deputy Kelly said it's 'ridiculous' that people going on holidays can still continue on with their journey to the airport after being fined.
Deputy Kelly said: “As regards quarantining people coming into the country, we’re very clearly saying anyone who isn’t an essential or logistics worker needs to be quarantined in a hotel.
"All that infrastructure and legislation should have been put in place prior to this."
Figures released last week show there was barely any change to Dublin Airport passenger numbers despite new fines.
However, Deputy Kelly argues that the number of people travelling would decrease if mandatory quarantine was in place for everyone, not just those arriving from certain countries.
He also suggested a different plan is needed to test essential workers on arrival, so they don't face the same quarantine regime.