A former Cabinet minister has told the Fine Gael parliamentary meeting tonight that he cannot support any move to fine people who breach the 5km restrictions that will be introduced at midnight.

Michael Ring said 5km was a very small distance in rural Ireland, and it was not practical to impose this limit especially during the dark winter months.

The Mayo TD told colleagues that he feared the country is becoming a police State.

However, Mr Ring has indicated that he will vote for the overall legislation that will allow for the fining of people who do not adhere to other Level 5 restrictions.

He also said the State was expecting people to follow its rules but it cannot get its own house in order citing in particular the problems with contact tracing.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the same meeting that the first he heard about the tracing problems was on Tuesday night.

He also said it was unfair of the HSE to place this burden on GPs and it is something they have also done in the past.

At the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party meeting tonight, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly insisted that the contact tracing system had not collapsed.

However, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that he was not satisfied with the current system and work was under way to put a strong permanent contact tracing staff in place.