Minister Stephen Donnely has said he would support allowing fully vaccinated people to attend concerts in Ireland.
The Minister for Health told Newstalk that he was open to allowing vaccinated people attend open-air events like Israel has done.
“I’m certainly open to those possibilities, because I was looking at the data on the effectiveness of the vaccines again yesterday and it is nothing short of astonishing,” he said.
“At the same time I’m very open to suggestions around how, if it is advised by public health that there are things you can do if you’re vaccinated… I think you and I might have talked previously, Pat, about a pilot they did in Israel – whereby people who could verify that they were vaccinated could go to an open air concert.”
Donnelly said such freedoms could be part of a “vaccine bonus” arrangement that is being discussed by government officials, and claimed that the reduction in cases following the roll-out has been “nothing short of astonishing”.
“Remember, a lot of healthcare workers at this point still haven’t had their second dose,” he told Pat Kenny, as new figures reveal a 97.5% reduction in the infection rate among healthcare staff since its peak in January.
“It’s beyond what anybody would have thought possible even six months ago.
“So given just how effective these vaccines appear to be, I think we can certainly have those conversations.
He also elaborated on EU plans for a digital pass allowing international travel, telling Newstalk that “the green passport or the green certificate that the EU is talking about is to do with travel within the single market.”
“There’s a system being developed whereby, right across the EU, you would be able to verify that you have been vaccinated and that you’re fully vaccinated,” he said.
“There would be systems put in place such that someone in Ireland who is arriving in Berlin – or wherever it is – that there is inter-country recognition and verification of vaccination.”
Donnelly also expressed his support for adding EU countries to the list requiring hotel quarantines upon arrival, despite question marks over its impact on the right to travel freely within the EU.
“This week, we’re going through a consultation process on what would be the most significant countries – we’re looking at the USA, France, Germany, Austria obviously is already on the list. They have been identified as having variants of concern and my view is they do need to be on the list,” said Donnelly.