The Irish could be allowed to travel in late July or August. | R.L.

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Irish drinkers may be able to enjoy a pint inside a pub by the end of July and holiday abroad in late summer as the government seeks to largely lift all COVID-19 restrictions, Prime Minister Micheál Martin said on Friday.

The government pressed ahead on Thursday with plans to reopen all retail stores and personal services for the first time in more than four months in May, with bars and restaurants allowed to serve guests outdoors from early June.

Irish pubs shut their doors when the first wave of COVID-19 hit Ireland in March 2020. Some were allowed to open their doors last summer and briefly again in December, the only periods the economy has not been subjected to a strict lockdown.

"The indoor pint? Certainly not in May or June. It may be possible towards the end of July," Martin told the Newstalk radio station.

Ireland also has the European Union's toughest restrictions on international travel, including forcing arrivals from countries including the United States, Canada, Belgium, France and Italy to quarantine in a hotel for up to 14 days.

The government has said it will develop a plan for a phased return to international travel and Martin said it was possible that holidays abroad could be permitted in July or August as the EU rolls out digital health passes for vaccinated citizens.