The Foreign Affairs Minister says a recent increase in COVID-19 cases is a 'warning shot', and may see some restrictions remain after October 22nd.
Simon Coveney was speaking as a member of NPHET expressed concern about plans to ease almost all restrictions next Friday.
Dr Mary Favier said the planned easing of restrictions may need to be 'tempered'.
The 14-day incidence rate has risen by 12% in the last seven days, and hospital numbers are at their highest since March.
NPHET is to meet on Monday to decide whether to give the go-ahead for measures to ease on Friday week.
Minister Coveney told Newstalk Breakfast the Government wants to move ahead.
"We expected that the figures would increase, the question is whether or not they're increasing to a level that means we have to re-evaluate the removal of restrictions.
"There's nobody in Government... [who] wants to move away from the plan to remove the vast majority of remaining restrictions on the 22nd.
"But we do have a responsibility to listen to the experts, to look at the science.
"And if there's a significant spike that is sustained we can't ignore that.
"If we have almost 400 people in hospital, almost 70 people in ICU, we have to make sure that we have the capacity going into the winter to be able to respond to that in our hospitals."
He says the the Government will make the decisions, even if they are not popular.
"I think the Government will be slow to move away from the plan that we've outlined many weeks ago.
"But I think this is essentially a warning shot, that there is still a significant level of COVID infection in society in Ireland.
"It has been there right the way through the summer, it hasn't increased significantly.
"But in the last week or so it's up about 12% - we have to watch that closely.
"Like at every point during this COVID pandemic, sometimes the Government has to make the right decisions - even if they're unpopular".
And he suggested the possibility that some restrictions could be lifted, while others remain.
"It is possible that some of restrictions that are due to be lifted may not be on the 22nd - of course that's possible.
"I still think the Government wants to move ahead as planned, but we will of course listen to NPHET and the public health experts.
"Let's wait and see what happens over the next week or so - because what we've seen is a short-term spike in numbers, and we'll have to see into next week whether that's sustained or not before we can make informed decisions".