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Micheál Martin addressing the AGM today.

Taoiseach: Government will 'move away' from Covid-19 business supports 'when virus is under control'

A range of different government supports are currently in place as large portions of the economy remain closed or restricted.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said the government will have to “move away” from its “extensive” supports for businesses and the economy when Covid-19 “has effectively been brought under control”. 

Martin was speaking to business leaders at the AGM of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce and said that the government would move to “more targeted interventions” for sectors that remain under restrictions. 

A range of different government supports are currently in place as large portions of the economy remain closed or restricted. The supports include the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) and the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP). 

These and other supports have been extended until at least 30 June with Martin saying today that they would not be in place indefinitely. 

“As the virus is effectively brought under control, there will be a need to move away from these extensive and wide-ranging emergency supports, with a move first to more targeted interventions for sectors which remain subject to restrictions,” he said.

He added that the “withdrawing of exceptional emergency levels of support” would be “in line with public health advice, virus suppression and the vaccine roll-out.”

Martin said that the government would also move towards investing in supporting business recovery, something he described as “re-prioritising of supports”. 

The Taoiseach said that Covid-19 had “brought great tragedy” and “unparalleled disruption to all our lives”. 

He also acknowledged that the country has been under the most severe form of restrictions since after Christmas. 

“That we remain at level five restrictions, as lengthened and already difficult started this year. And I’m very very conscious of the burden that has been placed on you, all of you here today, and the sacrifices that we’ve had to ask of so many people,” he said. 

The Taoiseach also said the State was working towards “ramping up distribution of the vaccine” while noting that that the international supply of vaccines “remains a challenge”. 

“Nonetheless we are making significant progress in relation to the vaccine program, particularly in terms of those who are most vulnerable to disease,” he said. 

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