Public Policy Bulletin, 30 March 2020

Mar 27, 2020

In this week’s Public Policy Bulletin, read our update on work and travel restrictions and the list of essential service providers under new public health guidelines. You can also read the ESRI’s commentary on a possible recession in the Irish economy due to COVID-19.


List of essential service providers under new public health guidelines: Update on work and travel restrictions


The Government of Ireland has imposed far reaching restrictions on work and travel to as part or measures to restrict the spread of COVID-19. Members in the Republic of Ireland should read and familiarise themselves with government announcements regarding the measures. A list of essential services was published by the Department of the Taoiseach on 28 March, which includes references to accountancy, payroll and payment, and data processing services. Read more for our recommendations for members.


Accordingly, we are recommending to members where possible;


  • In the first instance, members should note that that they, and where relevant their employees, must work from home if at all possible.


  • Members in an employer or practitioner capacity should consider whether some or all of their business or practice cannot be conducted from home and is considered essential under the guidelines below. In this case, then where possible, members should compartmentalise the operations of the business or practice between those parts which should be operated from home, those which should be discontinued, and those parts which should remain open because they are an essential service. We would appeal to all our members to respect the spirit of the measures which is to limit travel and work contacts to the absolute minimum.


  • The guidelines include a grace period until 6pm on 30 March 2020 for the necessary arrangements to be made. Therefore, members in an employer capacity should ensure that they communicate promptly with all employees regarding their decision and policies regarding opening of the business and remote working. Administrative requirements such as the provision of letters to employees should be attended to by the end of the grace period, and guidance is given in the attached link.


  • This is a rapidly evolving situation and further guidance may be issued by the Government over the coming days.

Important links:

New Public Health Measures effective now to prevent further spread of COVID-19 (28 March 2020)



List of essential service providers under new public health guidelines (28 March 2020), which includes references to accountancy, payroll and payment and data processing services




Irish economy to contract by 7.1 per cent, warns ESRI

In their Quarterly Economic Commentary, the independent research think-tank, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) have said that the Irish economy would potentially register a recession this year with output contracting by over 7 per cent. This prediction assumes that the current restrictions on economic life will remain in place over a period of 12 weeks. Under such a scenario, this constitutes a significant reversal of the pre COVID-19 related economic trends.

The scenario analysis outlines a significant increase in Ireland’s unemployment rate from 4.8 per cent in February to 18 per cent in Q2 2020 before falling back to just under 11 per cent by the end of the year. The combination of the extra expenditure on health and social welfare allied to the sharp decline in certain taxation revenues means a deficit of nearly 4.5 per cent is now likely to occur in 2020 and could be higher.

The commentary also analyses the impact on household demand, the trade sector, investment, the labour market and public finances. It is predicted that consumption, investment and net trade would all fall sharply as households cut spending, firms cancel or postpone investment and external demand for Irish goods and services fall.

However, their key working assumption is that the majority of the economic impacts of COVID-19 occur in Quarter 2 of the present year. By Quarter 3 and into Quarter 4, economic activity both domestically and internationally is assumed to return to normal If this does not occur then the results will be even more adverse for the domestic economy, according to the ERSI.



Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.