Holidaymakers face losing thousands of euro on flights and accommodation if they follow medical advice and cancel their trips.
Families who have booked foreign holidays for this summer are stuck in limbo amid mixed messages from government and health officials.
Those who follow chief medical officer Tony Holohan’s call to cancel foreign holidays will not be entitled to a full refund, as foreign travel is not banned under the Government’s Covid-19 measures.
Foreign flights from Ireland significantly ramp up from today, with Ryanair aiming to fly up to 40pc of its network in July. But Mr Holohan has warned against trips abroad.
The Irish Travel Agents Association and passengers have pleaded with the Government to provide clarity.
But the new coalition looks to be on a collision course as Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney washed his hands of confusion over foreign travel, referring questions to Taoiseach Micheál Martin’s office.
Meanwhile, chair of the Covid-19 committee Michael McNamara told the Irish Independent: “I don’t think you could lawfully stop people leaving Ireland. We are not North Korea.”
While some airlines and operators are offering vouchers or the opportunity to change flight dates, those who booked full holidays in advance face being left out of pocket.
The Irish Travel Agents Association said the Government was being unfair by giving people permission to fly, and then telling them not to.
"The biggest problem is that the Government is saying on one hand to go, they're allowing flights to go, and on the other hand saying you're not to go and you have a quarantine," Pat Dawson, the chair of the ITAA, said.
"Our suggestion to the Government is that they cancel all those flights and they refund the customers all their money because they are saying you are not to go."
He added that there were up to 50 flights expected to leave Ireland today.
Chief medical officer Dr Holohan said on Monday that "it would make much more sense not to go ahead" with holiday plans.
He said that quarantining people on their return from abroad would "pose huge logistical challenges" and that it would be impossible to stop people leaving the State.
But yesterday Covid-19 committee chair Mr McNamara said: "We must differentiate between advice and law. From a legal perspective, it would be almost impossible to legislate to prevent people leaving the State.
"Whether or not they are legally required to self-isolate on return is the issue. It would seem to me to be of questionable benefit to have a different regime in that regard for people returning across the land border in a bus from those returning on an aircraft."
The Clare TD also warned of "farcical" situations in the pubs. There was evidence of people buying small meals and drinking large quantities.
Mr McNamara said he could not understand how "a substantial meal, whatever that is, acts as a barrier from contracting Covid-19", referring to restrictions which stop people from drinking in pubs unless they purchase a meal that costs at least €9.
"At this stage, it's becoming a bit farcical," he said.
Amid growing public concern and confusion over foreign travel, the Taoiseach's spokesperson would only say last night that no decision had been made ahead of a government meeting later this week.
A spokesman for Micheál Martin said: "The Cabinet sub-committee is going to meet on Friday and they'll review all the latest information. The Cabinet is going to meet and make a decision."
There is no reliable data available on the number of people who are booked to go on foreign holidays in the coming weeks. Neither Ryanair nor Aer Lingus responded to requests for specific figures on the number of people booked to fly with them from July onwards.
Ryanair yesterday confirmed it is running 1,000 daily flights across Europe, which it said was 90pc of its pre-Covid network but with lower frequency.
The Dublin Airport Authority said that it would be "impossible" for it to predict traveller numbers for July. "On Monday, we had about 4,000 passengers going through Dublin Airport - that's arriving and departing passengers. On the equivalent Monday last year we had almost 116,000 passengers," a spokesman said.