More than 283,000 people have received social welfare payments after losing their jobs on account of the Coronavirus.
The Department of Social Protection has had 323,000 individual applications from people who’ve been made unemployed over the past two weeks alone.
It comes as concern has been expressed in Clare about the entitlements of seasonal workers.
The economic impact of the coronavirus is continuing to send ripples across the country, with hundreds of thousands of extra social welfare applications coming on stream in the past number of weeks.
Along with the 283,000 emergency COVID-19 welfare payments already processed, there are now 201,000 people in receipt of jobseekers allowance, which is an increase of 19,000 on the figure at the end of February.
A further 25,000 wage subsidy payments were made in respect of the Employer Refund Scheme, while overall, that’s the equivalent of 19 months of social welfare claims in just 14 days.
Liz Canavan, assistant secretary at the Department of the Taoiseach, outlines where we are at right now.
But despite the high number of people who have gained access to the emergency payment, concern is emerging in Clare about the income of seasonal workers.
Lahinch hotelier Michael Vaughan usually hires his seasonal summer staff this week and had planned on proceeding regardless of the virus.
He says he hoped this would allow his staff to draw down the COVID-19 payment rate, where he would pay 30%, and the government would foot the rest of the bill.
This has not been possible, but the Department of Social Protection says, instead, that the job seekers payment they had been in receipt of will be unaffected.
Michael Vaughan, who is a Fianna Fáil Seanad election candidate, believes this leaves hundreds, if not thousands of seasonal staff out of pocket.
One of Michael’s regular workers Linda Glynn has described the situation facing her and many others like her as “frightening”.
She says so many seasonal workers rely on their summer income boost to make ends meet.
And while the Department continues to handle an unprecedented need for its service, people with an immediate and urgent need are being asked to call 1890 800 024 as a matter of priority.