Santa Claus has been deemed an essential worker and will not be subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions when he arrives in Ireland next month.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney confirmed the Government's decision to the Dáil in a move that will be met with relief by children across the country.

Mr Coveney told TDs that Santa Claus has now confirmed to the authorities his intention to fly to Ireland on December 24 as usual.

However, he warned that children should remain in their beds on the night as there was a need for Santa to socially distance.

"As Minister for Foreign Affairs we've been working on the Santa Claus issue for a number of weeks now," he said.

He added: "It's important to say to all children in the country that we regard Santa Claus's travels as essential travel for essential purposes and therefore he is exempt from the need to self-quarantine for 14 days and should be able to come in and out of Irish airspace and indeed in and out of Irish homes without having to restrict his movement.

"But I am assured that children should not stay up at night because he does need to social distance and so people need to keep at least two metres away at all stages to make sure that we keep him safe and indeed children as well.

"So he's exempt, he's coming, he's confirmed that, and he appreciates the fact that Ireland has ensured that in a very, very different Christmas in 2020, the visit of Santa Claus will be something that will remain consistent."

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