Eamon Ryan has confirmed international flights and foreign travel are "coming back" soon.
International travel - including for foreign holidays - is expected to be allowed from July 19th, as part of the EU’s digital green cert system.
The Transport Minister wouldn’t commit to an exact date ahead of today’s Cabinet meeting, but he confirmed it will happen “within the timeframe” that's being reported.
Ministers are meeting this afternoon to sign off on the decisions agreed by the Cabinet subcommittee yesterday evening.
Under the plans, indoor dining would be allowed from July 5th.
The number of people allowed at a wedding will be increased to 50 from early July, before going to 100 in August.
Outdoor dining can return on June 7th for restaurants as previously announced, but cinemas and gyms are now also expected to be able to reopen from that date.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will announce the full range of reopening measures later today.
On Newstalk Breakfast, Minister Ryan said he hopes today’s announcement represents the “beginning of the end” of the pandemic restrictions.
He said the HSE has been doing an “incredible job” rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, and that will continue for the next two months.
In terms of the return of travel, he said: “We want everything back - we want people coming here, and we want people to meet.
“It’s in the sort of timeframes that are being reported.
“Flights are coming back. Travel is coming back.”
The EU's digital green cert system will allow people to travel within the bloc once they can show they've been fully vaccinated, had a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test, or had the virus within the past six months.
EU states will be given six weeks to implement the bloc’s new system for travel after member states sign off on the plans (that's expected to happen by July 1st).
Minister Ryan said Ireland will “use some of those six weeks, [but] not all of them, by any means”.
He explained: “Every week we do, we get another 300,000 vaccines out… every week really helps. There are still risks, and variants out there.”
He added a few extra weeks will also give time to prepare airports, which will need to “ramp up” operations ahead of an expected increase in passenger numbers.
The Green Party leader said he also thinks it’s “vital” to get students back into college and universities from September.
The Government’s also expected to also announce a return of larger outdoor gatherings.
Outdoor gatherings of 100 people will be allowed in June, or up to 200 in very large venues.
August will see crowds back at matches, with either 5,000 people or 25% of the capacity of a venue - whichever number is lower - allowed at big outdoor events.
The Government is also looking at trial events over the summer with bigger crowds, particularly targeting the GAA provincial finals.
However, Minister Ryan said the numbers announced today won’t be the ‘limit’ of the Government’s ambitions.
He believes the numbers allowed at such gatherings could increase further by August if there’s no major spike in COVID-19 cases in June and July.