Digital Green Certificates could be implemented in Ireland by the end of June
Travel between the European Union looks set to return this summer.
Digital Green Certificates could be implemented in Ireland as early as the end of June or at the "very latest" mid-August, according to Minister of State for European Affairs Thomas Byrne.
The European Commission has said the Digital Green Certificates, also known as EU Covid-19 certificates, will "reaffirm the right to free movement in Europe during the pandemic".
The document, which may be presented in a digital or paper format, will prove that a person travelling throughout the EU has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, has a recent negative test result, or has recently recovered from the virus.
Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of introducing the certificates, with negotiations now underway with EU member states on how to implement them.
Asked on RTÉ's Saturday with Katie Hannon when Ireland can expect Digital Green Certificates to be in place for the public, Byrne responded: "I don't have direct control over that because what's happening at the moment is that the European Parliament and the member states are negotiating, so whenever that finishes.
"I think there's a European Parliament plenary session towards the end of June to finalise it and the member states do it the following day."
The Minister of State has said that as negotiations are happening, member states are working to make sure the technology is ready in time that is necessary for the introduction of the certificates.
On the introduction of the Digital Green Certificate system, he explained: "We're expecting that it will be in place at the end of June. There may well be a transition period as part of it.
"It's six weeks at the moment, the transition period would be... but the European Parliament wants to delete that. We'll have to await the outcome of the negotiations.
"That's why member states are working very, very urgently."
Asked if the six-week transition period could mean the certificates wouldn't be available in Ireland until the middle of August, Byrne replied: "That would be the very latest.
"But as I said that six-week period may not be there and even if it is there, we may not need it. I'm hoping that we don't."
The Minister of State also said that, if the country's vaccination roll-out remains on track and there isn't another wave of the virus, the public will be "demanding" the certificates.