The Government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic has been described as "moronic" during a Dáil debate on mandatory hotel quarantine.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is trying to bring back the emergency powers around travel from overseas.
No country will be added to the list immediately, however, with the Government saying the legislation is a precaution until we know more about the Omicron variant.
The debate is taking place a day after the first case of the variant was confirmed in Ireland.
In the Dáil, Independent TD Catherine Connolly was one of the few to speak against the plans - but also criticised the Government's overall response to the pandemic.
She said: “The word is moronic… it means idiotic, stupid. To me, that’s what has characterised the Government’s approach to the COVID pandemic crisis over the last two years.
“We had a situation a few weeks ago where we were talking about nightclubs… all of the time, I knew day centres weren’t open, respite centres weren’t open, and people are at home without care.
"No analysis of that, and the Government’s time taken up by whether we can go in and out of nightclubs.
“No analysis of ventilation… lots of TDs have raised it repeatedly. But [the advice] is all ‘wash your hands’... absolutely no mention of ventilation at all.”
In terms of mandatory hotel quarantine, she argued that making people quarantine on arrival here is an "encroachment of human rights" - but that aspect has been missing from the debate.
She said any such measure must be "temporary and proportionate", but no time has been spent since the initial end of mandatory hotel quarantine on a full human rights assessment of the measure.
She also suggested South Africa is being "punished" for analysing the virus and sharing the knowledge of the new variant with the world.
Ireland, the EU and other countries have rushed to reintroduce travel restrictions for southern Africa after scientists there first reported details of Omicron last week.
Deputy Connolly said she herself has backed emergency powers during the pandemic.
However, she observed: “From day one, when I agreed to the draconian legislation, I did it with the knowledge that what I was agreeing to was draconian - the most severe encroachment on our basic human rights. I did so because of a threat.
“Almost two years down the road, I expect a completely different approach from the Government."
Introducing the legislation earlier today, Stephen Donnelly said the reintroduction of hotel quarantine "may be necessary for a limited of time" if the Omicron variant proves more resistant to vaccines.
The Government parties, Sinn Féin, Labour and the Social Democrats are backing the return of MHQ, and the legislation will therefore likely pass all stages in the Dáil this evening.