There's opposition within the Government to any prospect of restrictions on travel to the North.
Last night, the Tánaiste suggested the Government is considering telling people not to travel to Northern Ireland from next week due to the region's COVID-19 crisis.
Leo Varadkar told his Fine Gael colleagues last night the measure may be introduced, but no final decision has been made.
However, many within Fianna Fáil are opposed to any such prospect.
One well-placed Fianna Fáil source insists today the matter has never been discussed at Cabinet and will not happen.
Fianna Fáil sources saying a restriction on travelling to Northern Ireland is not going to happen. One stresses they’ve spent years trying to avoid a hard border because of Brexit and says COVID isn’t about to bring it about now
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 26, 2020
One senior Government source said they had spent years trying to avoid a hard border because of Brexit and were not about to let COVID introduce one.
There's puzzlement among Fine Gael's coalition partners as to why Leo Varadkar would mention the issue during a really sensitive week for Brexit.
There's some speculation in Fianna Fáil circles that it's to distract from the Helen McEntee debate today, where she'll face Dáil questions over the appointment of Supreme Court judge Seamus Woulfe.
The Cabinet sub-committee on COVID-19 will meet this evening to finalise plans to exit level five next week, ahead of an announcement tomorrow.
It's believed shops, gyms and hairdressers will be the first businesses to be allowed reopen, with restaurants and hotels expected to follow.
Former HSE director-general Tony O'Brien lives in Co Louth, and says the Government would be right to advise against travel to the North.
He said: "I think it's reasonable - particularly if they're on the brink of relaxing some of the measures here - is that in order to protect their people from transmission of COVID, and until such time as there's an alignment of measures in Northern Ireland, it's best to avoid travel to Northern Ireland at this time.
"I live fairly close to the border myself, and I haven't crossed it since the situation became so bad - it's a place I wouldn't want to go right now."
Figures released yesterday evening show there were an estimated 269 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Republic yesterday evening.
Meanwhile, cases in Northern Ireland have remained high, with the Executive having approved a two-week 'circuit breaker' from tomorrow.
Officials in the North reported 533 new case yesterday, although noted that number is higher than normal due to a data issue earlier in the week.