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COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Information from across government

Published: 7 April 2020
From: Department of Health

Daily government briefing

6 April

Topics discussed in this briefing include the Business Support Call Centre, the Community Call, and An Post's new services.

Read the briefing.

3 April

Topics discussed in this briefing include Irish citizens abroad, garda vetting, and medical care.

Read the briefing.

2 April

Topics discussed in this briefing include the horse racing industry, Irish citizens abroad, and cross border co-operation.

Read the briefing.

1 April

Topics discussed in this briefing include agricultural supports, Fuel Allowance, and testing concerns.

Read the briefing.

31 March

Topics discussed in this briefing include pension payments, bank services, and the COVID-19 App.

Read the briefing.

30 March

Topics discussed in this briefing include essential travel, cocooning, and the provision of passport services.

Read the briefing.

28 March

Topics discussed in this briefing include current public health guidance, cocooning and the list of essential workers.

Read the briefing.

27 March

Today's briefing discussed:

  • current public health guidance
  • income and business supports
  • community supports
  • updates on concerns related to the Irish Prison Service and caravan parks

Read the briefing.

National-level plans and developments

Madigan and Donohoe launch measures to support Ireland’s artistic and cultural life

The government has announced a range of specific measures to support the artistic and cultural life of the nation at this difficult time – with a particular focus on wellbeing through personal and community creativity.

Read more

Q1 Exchequer Returns highlight first impact of COVID-19 crisis

An Exchequer deficit of €2,535 million was recorded to end-March 2020. This compares to a deficit of €966 million in the same period last year.

Read more

Government launches major nationwide volunteering effort

The government has announced “The Community Call”, an unprecedented mobilisation of both state and voluntary resources to combat the effects of COVID-19.

Read more

New scheme launched to re-enlist former personnel of the Permanent Defence Force

The Minister with responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, has launched a new scheme to re-enlist former PDF enlisted personnel who have the skills and expertise required to fill identified vacancies.

The scheme will allow for initial re-enlistment for a minimum of six months and up to 3 years.

Read more

Minister Donohoe announces release of €16 million of National Lottery money to support COVID-19 health efforts

The money was held in the National Lottery Fund, which is managed and controlled by the National Lottery Regulator, and will now be transferred by the Regulator to the Exchequer.

Read more

Taoiseach addresses the nation

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, spoke to the nation about the next stage in our national response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.

Read more

An Post to roll out a range of new services to help during COVID-19

Following discussions between the government, An Post and the Communications Workers Union, An Post will roll out a host of new measures to help people deal with COVID-19, particularly the government's advice to stay inside your own home and avoid public gatherings.

Read more

New emergency measures to protect tenants

The government has approved a series of measures to protect renters who have been impacted by COVID-19.

The measures include:

  • no evictions or rent increases for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency
  • extending the notice period for renters who have been renting for less than 6 months from 28 days to 90 days

Read more

Government announces major new financial measures to help people cope with COVID-19

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Dohohue, has announced measures to help people deal with the financial strain of COVID-19.

These measures include:

  • flexible arrangements for business and personal customers with their banks - including 3 month payment breaks where necessary (customers are advised to contact their bank)
  • contactless payments to increase to €50 in the interests of public health policy
  • making sure that people can continue to access banking services

Read more

Taoiseach addresses the nation

An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, spoke to the nation about how Ireland is responding to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and how the government is preparing for future challenges.

Read more

Government approves legislation to support national response to COVID-19

The government has passed new laws to allow for new welfare payments as well as special powers necessary to protect public health.

Read more

National Action Plan approved in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Cabinet Committee on COVID-19 has approved a National Action Plan in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).

Read more

Information for businesses

NSAI publish COVID-19 guide for the retail sector

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a 'Retail Protection and Improvement Guide' to help retailers manage business continuity during the COVID-19 emergency.

Read more

New government webpage available to receive offers of COVID-19 assistance

The Office of Government Procurement recently launched a webpage to facilitate offers of assistance from businesses and other organisations that are seeking to provide supplies or services in support of the national response to COVID-19.

Read more

Standards for medical supplies made freely available

In response to the COVID-19 emergency, the following organisations have all agreed to make freely available a series of European, American and International standards for use in response to COVID-19:

  • European Committee for Standardization (CEN)
  • European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC)
  • International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
  • Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI)

Read more

EU approves €200 million fund to support Irish business

The European Commission has approved Ireland's €200 million scheme, in line with EU State aid rules, to provide financial support to Irish companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Read more

NSAI publishes guide for businesses

The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a ‘Workplace Protection and Improvement Guide’ outlining preventative measures businesses can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Read more

Businesses can now donate supplies and services to combat COVID-19

Since COVID-19 arrived in Ireland, businesses have been contacting government bodies to offer to supply or donate goods and services. We have created a central database of these offers on behalf of the whole of the public service, including the HSE.

Your business can donate supplies or services here.

New Business Continuity Voucher goes live through Local Enterprise Offices

A new Business Continuity Voucher is now available through Local Enterprise Offices.

It is open to sole traders and companies across every business sector that employ up to 50 people.

Read more

Six-month moratorium on interest and repayments on new Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 loan

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, has announced that the new Microfinance Ireland COVID-19 loan includes an option for a moratorium on interest and repayments for the first six months.

Read more

Support for businesses impacted by COVID-19 through commercial rates deferral

The government has agreed with local authorities that they should agree to defer rates payments due from the most immediately impacted businesses - primarily in the retail, hospitality, leisure and childcare sectors, for three months, until end-May.

This measure will be implemented by each local authority in its own area.

Read more

Government measures for business and enterprise

The government has put in place a number of initiatives to support business and enterprise during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis.

These address long and short-term financial supports, tax alleviation measures, banking and credit measures and employee supports.

Read more

Information for employers

A number of income supports are available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for your employees during a COVID-19 (Coronavirus) related absence or temporary lay-off from work.

Read more

Guidance for supply chain workers published

A guidance document has been prepared for supply chain workers in relation to COVID-19.

This guidance applies to hauliers, maritime staff, pilots and aircrew, ground staff, port staff, maintenance staff, engineering staff and all others involved in the maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure to allow freight operations in and out of Ireland to continue.

COVID-19 Guidance for supply chain workers

This guidance applies to those involved in the maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure to allow freight operations in and out of Ireland to continue.


Government supports for business

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is presenting immediate and severe financial challenges for businesses.

Information on government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses is available from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.

Statement announcing supports for businesses impacted by COVID-19.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD has announced that the Registrar of Companies has decided that all annual returns due to be filed by any company now and up to 30 June 2020 will be deemed to have been filed on time if all elements of the annual return are completed and filed by that date.

Information for childcare providers

Information for childcare providers is available from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Information on the community response

The Department of Rural and Community Development is leading the government effort to encourage and facilitate a community response to COVID-19.

The department has developed an Action Plan to support this work.

The Action Plan sets out three key actions for initial focus in supporting a community response to COVID-19.

Each local authority (council) has established a Community Response Forum to coordinate COVID-19 related community supports. As part of this, each local authority has established a helpline that vulnerable people can phone if they are looking for basic services such as delivery of food or meals, or transport for essential trips.

Here is a list of each local authority’s helpline phone numbers.

ALONE, National Helpline: 0818 222 024

ALONE, the national charity for older people, is partnering each Covid-19 Community Response Forum. If you need to talk or are looking for emotional support, you can call them on 0818 222 024 or your call can be directed from your local Covid-19 Community Response Forum helpline. You can also contact ALONE if you are experiencing difficulties with physical and mental health, finance, housing, loneliness and other challenges.

Read more

Local Authority community call

Advice for people giving and receiving support during the COVID-19 pandemic


COVID-19 - A Guide for the Bereaved

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to change the usual ways we deal with the loss of a loved one. This guide is concerned with the period from the time a death occurs up to the burial or cremation. It is intended to provide clear advice as to what bereaved families might expect as they make funeral arrangements. In particular, it outlines the changes that have become necessary to what are often fundamental and time honoured rituals and processes associated with marking the passing of a loved one during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Guide for the Bereaved

A Guide for the Bereaved during the COVID-19 Epidemic


Government launches initiative to phone older people to check on wellbeing during COVID-19 crisis

The Minister for Rural and Community Development, Michael Ring TD, has announced a new befriending phone-call initiative to support participants of the Seniors Alert Scheme.

The initiative will allow older people to receive a regular phone call to check on their wellbeing and needs during the COVID-19 emergency.

Read more

Information for farmers, fishermen and the food industry

Bord Bia introduces COVID-19 supports

Bord Bia has introduced a set of services and practical supports for the Irish food, drink and horticulture industry, designed to help producers and businesses navigate the challenges they face and provide practical support during rapidly changing circumstances.

Read more

Minister Creed announces flexibilities on DAFM schemes

The Minster for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, has confirmed a number of flexibilities to schemes run by the department in response to COVID-19 issues.

These flexibilities are being introduced to make it easier for farmers and their agents to continue to participate in these schemes where difficulties arise from the current public health restrictions.

Read more

Minster Creed announces new COVID-19 information helpline for farmers

The helpline will assist farmers with their queries in relation to current COVID-19 restrictions.

The information helpline phone number is 076 1064468 and will be open from 9.30am to 12.30pm and from 2pm to 5pm Monday to Friday.

Read more

Measures in response to COVID-19

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is implementing an appropriate business continuity plan as part of the cross-government response to COVID-19.

The department remains open and is prioritising the delivery of essential services to farmers, fishermen and the food industry.

Read more

Information on the justice sector

Significant increase in Direct Provision accommodation announced

More than 650 new beds have been secured to support international protection applicants during the COVID-19 crisis.

Read more

Measures in response to COVID-19

The Department of Justice and Equality is working closely with all relevant criminal justice and public health agencies, including An Garda Síochána, the Irish Prison Service, the Courts Service, the Department of Health and the HSE, to adopt measures that are in line with public policy and the evolving situation.

Read more

Information for schools, preschools and third level institutions

Minister announces deferral of new allocation model for Special Needs Assistants

The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has announced that the planned new allocation model for Special Needs Assistants has been deferred for one year.

The frontloading model for primary and post-primary schools is now planned to be in place for September 2021.

Read more

Minister announces contingency plans for temporary assignment arrangements for education and training sector staff

A dedicated process has been set up by the Public Appointments Service on publicjobs.ie to put SNAs on standby to free up frontline workers for essential services.

The move is part of a wider temporary assignment scheme which is opening for public sector employees.

Read more

Government confirms continued funding for Schools Meals Programme

The government has issued schools with updated guidance to help them operate the School Meals Programme amid the extended COVID-19 restrictions.

This will ensure that nutritious food gets to many thousands of young people who need it the most.

Read more

Schools, universities and childcare facilities to remain closed until 19 April 2020

All schools, pre-schools and further and higher education settings will remain closed to students until 19 April 2020.

Read more

Minister announces cancellation of Leaving Certificate and Junior Certificate oral and practical performance tests

Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh TD has announced the cancellation of oral and practical performance tests of the state examinations which were originally scheduled to take place from Monday 23 March to Friday 3 April 2020.

All students who were due to take these tests will be awarded full marks for this portion of the exam.

Read more

Closure of schools, universities and childcare facilities

All schools, universities and childcare facilities are closed until 29 March.

All pupils and students, from pre-school to third level are urged to practice physical distancing, and to minimise physical contact with each other, to help avoid the spread of COVID-19.

This should include:

  • minimising social contact
  • avoiding meeting up
  • keeping physical space between them

Parents and guardians are urged to support their children to maintain this approach.

Read more

Information on the transport sector

Minister outlines importance of maintaining all elements of the supply chain

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, has thanked all those working in the transport network ensuring the delivery of essential goods to Ireland.

The Minister was speaking after a Cabinet Committee meeting at which he outlined the ongoing work in the transport supply chain.

Read more

NCT cancelled until further notice

Minister Shane Ross and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have confirmed that the following services are suspended until further notice:

  • National Driver Licence Service (NDLS)
  • National Car Testing Service (NCT)
  • Commercial Vehicle Testing System

This is in order to comply with the new public restrictions announced by the government on Friday 27 March.

Read more

Transport measures in response to COVID-19

The transport-related measures currently in place in response to COVID-19 are set out below.

Given that this is a rapidly evolving situation this page will be updated as required.

Read more

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