Primary legislation will be needed to ensure that pubs and restaurants can serve alcohol outdoors.

It follows ongoing discussions between the Minister for Justice and the Attorney General on the issue.

Yesterday, the Garda Commissioner advised his officers to use discretion on outdoor drinking while continuing to respond to public complaints about things such as public order and noise.

However, given that the Government has provided extensive funding to allow for outdoor hospitality this summer the matter has been scrutinised for the last few days.

Now it is likely that clarity will be brought to the matter with legislation that would quickly be progressed through the Dáil and Seanad, most likely next week.

This legislation is needed because licensing laws cannot be dealt with through regulations.

The Department of Housing, which has responsibility for local authorities, is also involved in the drafting of the legislation.

The Cabinet today heard concerns about the Delta variant, but right now the Government believes the reopening of indoor dining is on track for 5 July, but no decision will be taken until late next week.

The key measure in the final decision making is likely to be based on data around hospitalisations resulting from the Delta variant not just in Ireland, but also in Britain and other EU countries.

Meanwhile the Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English has said there are no plans to delay or to change the reopening of indoor restaurant dining and indoor pubs on 5 July.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime, he said there has been "a concerning rise" in transmission of the Delta variant in Ireland over the past week and it is being carefully monitored by the Government.

Mr English said that the Government is very confident that they can track this Delta variant and keep the numbers down. He urged people to take responsibility for themselves and follow the public health advice.

He said the Government has taken a very cautious approach to reopening society since Christmas and has taken on board all the advice from the scientific community, the public health teams and NPHET.