People should still holiday at home in Ireland this summer despite the publication of a travel green list, according to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan.
He was speaking after the Government late last night agreed to the list of 15 European countries and territories deemed safe to travel to: Malta, Finland, Norway, Italy, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus, Slovakia, Greece, Greenland, Gibraltar, Monaco, and San Marino.
Anyone arriving into Ireland from those countries will not have to restrict their movements for 14 days, with the list to be reviewed every two weeks.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has updated the travel advice for those countries to 'normal precautions'.
Opposition parties have described the list as contradictory and confusing.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said the Government wants to give clarity to people.
He explained: "The Government delayed the publication of this list out of caution, to be honest - I think there is a real concern out there in the world that the incidence of COVID is not on the decrease.
"The advice is clear still - people should stay at home this summer and take their holidays at home.
"If they are travelling, we’re managing and assessing the risk of what’s actually happening in other countries."
Minister Ryan said Ireland has managed the COVID-19 pandemic better than many other countries.
He observed: "Actually what was agreed last night is a reflection of that: we are only applying it to countries that have a lesser incidence of COVID than ourselves, and that’s actually a very small list of countries.
“The safest thing to do is not to travel. But if we didn’t apply any assessment of other countries’ risk and if COVID continues for a longer period of time, then we have a difficulty. We do have to manage in Ireland how we connect with the rest of the world."
He said Ireland is taking a 'more conservative' approach to travel than the EU or UK.
The Green Party leader also insisted the Cabinet is "united" on the green list.
Ahead of last night's Cabinet meeting, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar had warned of the risk of sending out 'mixed messages' on travel.