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Ireland’s Prime Minister Micheál Martin Shutterstock

DUBLIN, Ireland (LifeSiteNews) — Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin announced that most COVID restrictions will be lifted from tomorrow, Saturday, but his government has decided against scrapping vaccine travel certificates and mask mandates implemented in shops and on public transport.

The decision to relax the rules has been welcomed across the political spectrum, but pro-freedom activists in Ireland fear that it might not be the “beginning of the end” that several senior politicians have dubbed it.

Irish commentator Dave Cullen told his viewers that “anyone celebrating this return to freedom is very foolish.”

“Only a slave feels gratitude to their master when they are given additional freedoms and privileges again,” Cullen said. “The government has no right to give our freedoms back to us because they had no right to take them in the first place.”

“In addition, all of the (Irish) COVID emergency health regulations and laws still remain on the books to be used again whenever they wish,” he warned.

Proof of vaccination or recovery from COVID had been required in Ireland to enter gyms, cafés, pubs restaurants and hotels, with unvaccinated people barred from such venues, while a raft of draconian restrictions were also placed on indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Pubs and restaurants also had to maintain a curfew of 8 p.m.

The retention of emergency laws by the government, however, means Ireland still faces the prospect of further lockdowns and discrimination against unvaccinated international travelers, who must continue paying for PCR tests in the absence of a vaccine certificate or proof of recovery from COVID.

Leo Varadkar, deputy head of government, somewhat ominously told a Friday press conference that Irish people could look forward to “a spring and summer of freedom” but warned there would be “bumps in the road.”

“ … (I)f this is not the end, it’s the beginning of the end,” Varadkar declared.

Both Martin and chief medical officer Dr. Tony Holohan were at pains to insist the “pandemic is not over” during their media briefings, with the Irish leader giving the listening public his all-clear to “shake hands” with others “if you’re comfortable and if you feel safe.”