DUBLIN (Reuters) -Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister said on Thursday it was his firm view that it is too soon to withdraw coronavirus-related jobless benefits that are still supporting more than 300,000 people who lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
Ministers are due to decide next week whether to extend fiscal support beyond the end of June and Leo Varadkar has said the government would aim to allow firms and people time to reopen and recover in the third quarter with those payments.
He added that the government will have to maintain a weekly grant for shuttered businesses until venues such as restaurants and bars can serve guests indoors and that a wage subsidy scheme for all impacted firms will need to stay in place "for quite some time."
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said on Wednesday that with the risk that consumer behaviour may have fundamentally changed even after restrictions are removed, continued support could be necessary to the end of 2021 to help maintain viable businesses.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Alex Richardson)