Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said he expects that international travel will return this year, but not until later in the summer.
Speaking on Newstalk on Friday morning, Mr Ryan said there were many details that needed to be worked out before international travel could resume.
“I expect we will open international travel, but we have to be very careful, as we don’t want to create false expectations," he said.
He added: “I don’t want to give an exact date, as we have to work with our European colleagues in having an international system.”
Mr Ryan estimated travel would be resume later in the summer and the timelines would be revealed in the next two months.
With regard to easing restrictions, the Government’s approach was one of guarded optimism, he said. The ongoing vaccination programme would be a key difference from the third wave.
Officials would monitor Covid case numbers as restrictions were eased in several stages over the next few months, he said.
Mr Ryan's comments follow those of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, who reportedly said the Government must have a plan in place by the end of May for the phased return of international travel.
Speaking to a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party on Wednesday evening, Mr Varadkar said the aviation sector and airports need a plan in place by then.
It is understood Mr Varadkar also said he wants to see a trial of an outdoor event such as a Leinster match, similar to a recent experiment in Barcelona.