Irish Government’s Actions in Response to COVID-19

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The advent of COVID-19 has caused many changes to everyday life, both in Ireland and abroad. For a long time, people were unable to leave their homes and socialize with friends and family. As unfortunate as this crisis has been, times of crisis can cause reforms. Look at the 2008 economic recession for example-the decade after the 2008 recession has led to major changes in the world of financial services surrounding credit. These government measures have addressed a variety of issues in the finance world; from pointing out issues with mortgage lending products offered to clients, increasing transparency between financial providers and their clients, and instituting requirements to make sure businesses lend responsibly to clients. Legislation in many forms have been created to address these issues, such as the European Union Consumer Mortgage Credit Agreements Regulations 2016 and the Consumer Protection Code. [1]

The goal of governmental actions in the past has been to decrease the potential risks for both the borrower and the lender. The current goal of these governmental actions is to protect the economy and the workers that support it. Ireland tackled the pandemic problem from a variety of angles, from re-opening plans to fiscal policies to monetary policies. Let’s look at what the Irish government has done to protect its country from COVID-19’s disastrous effects.

Now let’s look at how Ireland’s government responded to the pandemic. First, Ireland’s government instituted a nationwide lockdown to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus. By instituting this complete lockdown of the country, COVID-19’s potential to spread was significantly hampered. After the medical community analyzed the COVID-19 case rates and give the go-ahead, Ireland’s economic reopening plan would commence. The economic reopening would be done in 4 stages, with more businesses and social activities being allowed to commence as COVID-19 cases decreased. [2]

Second, the Irish government announced a €6.8 billion plan (roughly 2% of Ireland’s GDP) to tackle the pandemic’s issues. First off, a significant portion of this relief plan was used to fund income relief efforts for the Irish population. These income relief efforts included the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme, the COVID-19 Enhanced Illness Benefit, and the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Benefit. These three income relief effort plans were instituted to help Irish people struggling with the disastrous financial effects of this pandemic and keep them afloat financially. Secondly, the Irish government also provided more liquidity support to businesses affected by the pandemic by increasing their liquidity support to €1 billion. Third, the Irish government spent €2 billion euros to strengthen their public health system to handle the large amount of cases. [2]

Third, the Irish government implemented monetary policy changes to bolster the economy while it was in a financial lockdown. These monetary policy changes are in addition to the monetary policy changes that were implemented by the European Union. The Central Bank of Ireland reduced the countercyclical capital buffer from 1% to 0%, as well as announcing that payment breaks were now available for mortgages. These payment breaks would not affect the credit records of the customers that opted to use them. In addition to these effects, an eviction and rent freeze was introduced for the time being during the COVID 19 emergency. [2]

This article was written by Ian, an intern at Irish Mortgage Brokers and from the USA.