The Government has announced that travel to all offshore islands will be permitted under the next phase of easing Covid-19 restrictions, which comes into effect on Monday next.

Islands have been closed to non-residents since restrictions came into effect.

At this afternoon's Cabinet meeting, the National Public Health Emergency Team and the Attorney General recommended the islands be allowed to reopen to all traffic.

Last week, Cabinet delayed their announcement pending consultation with Comhairle na nOileán, however that body said in a statement on Monday that they are not the body responsible for public health decisions or any Covid-19 pandemic decisions.

It is understood that all four doctors operating on the three Aran Islands off Co Galway conveyed their opinions on the matter to Government in the past week.

They recommended that islands be opened on a phased basis to ensure the islands stay virus free.

They suggested that islanders who have holiday homes on the islands be allowed to return on 29 June, and all other visitors be permitted from 20 July.

Many islanders and representative bodies have expressed concern about the practicality of policing the measure, if Government decided to restrict travel to islanders only.

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