A leader within the Government’s three-party coalition has argued for the reopening of various sectors of the country, following the current lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
Leader of the Green Party, Eamon Ryan, said he would like to see people returning to their workplace one a day a week.
The Transport and Environment Minister said he also backed the reopening of shops, gyms, golf courses, galleries and churches to support people’s mental health, insisting they were “safe” environments.
“What we need to do as we return now, is to promote the controlled environments,” he said.
“That includes the reopening of retail, I think retailers have done a controlled job so we can do that.
“I would also argue, the likes of a gallery or a gym or a golf course or a church, there are so many aspects in our daily life that are really important to us, which are safe.”
The Minister added he did not "want people up in the bar afterwards, the 19th hole, into the early hours,” but he said controlled activities should be allowed to restart, according to the Irish Examiner.
He added that third level colleges had the "capability" to restart on-campus lectures from next term, adding that first year students had been particularly affected by Covid-19 restrictions with “no third level experience”.
Mr Ryan also argued that younger people should be permitted to go into their workplace for training and to meet colleagues.
"I think we need to start bringing younger people particularly back into the workplace on a safe, gradual, controlled basis, maybe one day a week," he said.
Asked about international travel in December, Mr Ryan said numbers would have to be monitored closer to the time but warned it will "not be the normal Christmas”.
The Minister said heated and passionate arguments were taking place among officials about how the country should exit Level 5 restrictions, as the Government attempts to formulate a plan to manage the virus over the Christmas period.
"We have a critical decision to make in Government next week and we will make it next week listening to our health advisors, but also taking into account other factors,” Mr Ryan said.
The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting today to discuss the spread of the virus, following a clash with Government officials over an exit plan from current restrictions.