A leaked memo from the Taoiseach suggested his caretaker government was preparing to extending emergency measures such as a rent freeze and evictions ban. But it also warned officials were also planning to assess how special welfare payments can be tapered off in the coming months.
The memo, the tone of which was described as “jaw-dropping” by sources, predicted the “relatively unified spirit” shown in Ireland during the “swift and unprecedented” initial stages of the crisis could soon change as the reality of the situation sank in.
It spelled out the long-term implications of the pandemic and the emergency measures Mr Varadkar’s adminstration took on response.
It warned: “This includes unemployment, reduced income, increased debt, closure of businesses, reduced educational opportunities, restrictions on movement and social interactions, and ultimately the loss of loved ones.”
The leaked memo also outlined challenges faced by ministers who might have to leave some sections of the economy closed while opening others, reducing benefits across the board and tightening entry procedures for foreigners.
Mr Varadkar will later urge fellow European Union leaders to consider mutual sharing of the debt member states are incurring as they battle COVID-19.
The Taoiseach is taking part in a European Council meeting on the pandemic – the video conference is the fourth occasion EU leaders have convened to discuss the crisis.
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