A consultant in infectious diseases says he will continue to wear a mask in crowded spaces, even if a legal mandate is lifted.
Dr Eoghan De Barra was speaking as a decision on scrapping mandatory face masks in all settings, except healthcare, is expected from the Government on Tuesday.
The recommendations from NPHET would mean the end of the legal requirement to wear masks in the likes of shops, schools and public transport.
Staff in public-facing jobs in businesses such as bars, restaurants and hairdressers would also no longer have to wear masks.
Dr De Barra told The Pat Kenny Show people should still be mindful of those around them.
"It's about the behaviour and the dynamics, and the security people feel, in those crowded environments.
"I certainly would still wear a mask if I was in a crowded space, because it's a matter of solidarity with those around me who feel less comfortable and more threatened by the virus.
"Unfortunately this really only works if the majority of people are doing it.
"If the person without the mask is the one coughing, a mask in itself doesn't offer much individual protection."
'People keen to keep masks'
He says he believes the majority of people will continue to wear masks.
"I think most people... are keen to continue to do this, out of a show of security and solidarity with other people who may feel very anxious - and an attempt to reduce the impact of this.
"And I think it's not unreasonable that maintains for some period of time.
"I can understand NPHET's decision, because the mandatory nature of it in terms of public health kind of falls away.
"But I think the other aspects of it, to reassure those people who are very anxious and vulnerable about it, is the vaccination - and completion of vaccination offers excellent protection".
However he believes people can negate their concerns by using other measures.
"As long as we can get across to people the other measures do work.
"So if you've grabbed that grab rail, and you think there was somebody who just sneezed on that, if there's an alcohol hand gel there - or you have some, or you wash your hands - before you touch your face, that's good protection.
"This doesn't get through intact skin."
And he hopes that the cleanliness of high-touch surfaces would stay in place.
"I'd love for those things to remain, because they offer benefits beyond COVID.
"But unfortunately... this is kind of the story that played out at the end of Spanish Flu.
"People got tired of it, and some places removed things... and some of the worst morbidity occurred when the pandemic was nominally over in other areas, because people couldn't maintain those measures to the end".