New travel rules for 'red list' European countries will come into effect later this month.
Cabinet today agreed from midnight November 29th, people travelling to Ireland from red listed countries will have to isolate for at least five days.
If they then have a negative PCR test, they are free to move around rather than doing two full weeks of isolation.
The rule change could allow people to travel back to Ireland for Christmas under lighter restrictions.
Effectively this appears to be a workaround for Christmas travel. The tests would have to be done privately as opposed to taking up HSE capacity
— Seán Defoe (@SeanDefoe) November 10, 2020
It comes after the Government began implementing the new European traffic light system earlier this month.
Minister for International Travel, Hildegarde Naughten, told The Hard Shoulder that Cabinet today agreed to move forward with the new rules.
She explained: "From the 29th of November, anyone travelling from a red country... you have to restrict your movements for 14 days when you enter Ireland.
"After five days, you can take a PCR test. If you have a negative test, you don't have to restrict your movements.
"If you're coming from an orange list country, what we're asking people to do is take a PCR test three days in advance of taking your flight... you will then not have to restrict your movements. If you don't do that, you will have to restrict your movements by 14 days."
She reiterated that people travelling from green list countries do not have to restrict their movements on arrival.
However, most countries across Europe are currently listed as 'red' due to the recent surges in virus rates.
Following today's announcement, one private provider of COVID-19 testing has warned that 'capacity does not exist' to test tens of thousands of people arriving in the country for Christmas.
Vida Care - which has a 'drive-through' testing facility near Dublin Airport - claims the Government has 'failed to properly assess' the capacity for private companies to test the large number of people flying home from red list countries over the Christmas period.
Meanwhile, airport authorities have welcomed additional funding and supports for the aviation sector announced by the Government today.
A €20 million Airport Charges Rebate Scheme, subject to EU state aid approval, is one of the measures revealed today.
€22 million in operational and capital funding for Cork and Shannon airports has been approved on top of Budget 2021 commitments.
There will also be a further €6 million for Knock, Kerry and Donegal under the Regional Airports Programme.
Minister Naughten said it's been a "really difficult year for aviation", and extra funding for airports is needed to help support them.